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The Ugly: Sugar and Oil

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

By. Garrett Guzman

Did you know?

“A rigorously done new study shows that those with the highest sugar intake had a four-fold increase in their risk of heart attacks compared to those with the lowest intakes. That’s 400%! Just one 20-ounce soda increases your risk of heart attack by about 30%.” – Dr. Mark Hyman (from the JAMA Internal Medicine)

The Ugly

Now that we have already covered the best foods for heart disease prevention (in The Refined Fitness Report 2) and those foods that are perhaps good or bad for heart health (in the Refined Fitness Report 3), we will now discuss those foods that are downright awful, with regards to being directly associated with an increased risk of developing or worsening heart disease. These two major food culprits are sugar (specifically added sugars; not those contained within fruits and vegetables) and refined oils. While there may be other foods that definitely would not assist in the battle against atherosclerosis, these two foods have the greatest negative effect and unfortunately, have worked their way into nearly every processed food that we eat. Let’s discuss.

Sugar Everywhere

There is no doubt that sugar is all around us. Whether it is cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy, or sodas, sugar can be found in nearly every food we eat. In fact, Americans now consume approximately 500 calories of added sugar per day, on average. In 1700, we consumed less than 20 calories from added sugar; and in 1800, we consumed less than 100 calories from added sugar. In fact, even today’s government dietary recommendations urge Americans to consume less than 10% of calories (less than 50 grams on 2,000 calorie diet) from added sugars, which is still extremely generous. And again, we are not referring to those sugars naturally found within fruits and vegetables (and even dairy, if able to consume). Added sugar consumption has been directly linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, and elevated triglycerides, to name a few, which all have a high correlation with heart disease (1). In addition, an overwhelming amount of research shows a strong connection between added sugar consumption and nearly every form of cancer, including breast, colon, and even skin cancer. There is no question that we must dramatically reduce our intake of added sugars so that we can dramatically reduce our risk of heart disease, and all other forms of chronic disease.

Oil Galore

Those toxic oils that we see most commonly on our grocery shelves, and within nearly all processed foods, include canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, sunflower, and safflower oils. These oils are nearly always made from genetically modified crops (GMOs) that have been heavily treated with pesticides. In addition, these oils then “go through an insane amount of processing with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle (2).” Beyond the actual treatment processes, vegetable oils are extremely inflammatory. Much of this has to do with the high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids that are present within these oils. Research is definitive in that increased consumption of vegetable oils is highly correlated with increased risk of heart disease. Not only do vegetable oils increase heart disease risk, but they also increase the risk for cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and interestingly enough, even homicide rate and depression (3). And if the fats are hydrogenated (think trans-fats), this makes them even worse. In fact, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition attributes 30,000 premature deaths per year in the United States to the direct consumption of trans-fatty acids (4). Plain and simple, you should avoid vegetable oils (with the exception of coconut oil and olive oil) like the plague!

1. Gunnars, Kris (June, 2017). 11 Graphs That Show Everything That is Wrong With the Modern Diet. Retrieved from

2. Hari, Vani. Processed to Death – Get These Cooking Oils Out of Your Pantry STAT!Retrieved from

3. Gunnars, Kris (August, 2013). 6 Reasons Why Vegetable Oils Can be Harmful.Retrieved from

4. Ascherio, A (1997). Health effects of trans fatty acids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66 (4): 1006S-1010S.

The Ugly: Sugar and Oil


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