Limiting Sugar Is No-Brainer

BY KEITH ROACH, M.D.

I received medical advice to reduce sugar consumption. Does this apply to 100 percent fruit juices, fresh fruit, sweetened cereal products or other fruit sweetened products?

Dr. Roach says: I think it makes sense to limit sugar intake, as most North Americans take in remarkably large quantities of sugar. This week, while giving a lecture at the medical school, I noticed that the carbonated sodas served contained 45 grams of added sugar per can. That’s more than the American Heart Association recommends in a day (no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women, 40 grams a day for men)! Be careful of products that claim to be sweetened by fruit juice or fruit sugar; this still counts as added sugar.

I do make an exception for fruits, as the body processes natural sugars from fruit differently. You can try this out at home by eating four medium-size oranges or drinking its equivalent in an 8-ounce (250 ml) glass of orange juice. I think you will find a big difference in how full you feel.

Although reducing sugar is critical for diabetics and is very important for anyone trying to lose weight, even for people with no sugar or weight problems, the evidence is accumulating that eating too much added sugar increases future risk for heart disease and diabetes.

I have statin myopathy. I am in pure agony. I am taking muscle relaxants and pain relievers. The muscles all over my body ache. I have had pain for two months. Do you have any advice or remedies?

Dr. Roach says: Statin drugs are used to reduce risk for people with an increased chance for heart attack, depending on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, family history and other risk factors for coronary heart disease. As many as nine percent of people treated with statins have muscle aches, which can be severe.

The treatment is stopping the statin. After stopping, the average time for symptoms to get better is two months. Only seven percent have symptoms after six months. Coenzyme Q-10 has shown promise as a treatment for statin myopathy, in the dose of 200 mg a day, once daily or divided. However, it doesn’t work for everybody.

Recently I was told that the “new way” to take blood pressure readings was to hold your arm against your chest and over your heart. I have not seen this on the Web anywhere. Is this true?

Dr. Roach says: It’s not so new: We have long known that the arm should be at the same height as the heart. The arm also should be supported. Otherwise, the readings will be slightly (or not so slightly) off.

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