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The Dietary Science Foundation
Telephone:+46 70-750 22 16
Address: Kostfonden/DSF
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Strandvägen 10
269 39 Båstad

High blood sugar leads to inflammation of
the blood vessels

Seven out of ten people who seek treatment for coronary artery disease have problems regulating their blood sugar. Modern research also shows that high blood sugar stimulates the inflammation that causes atherosclerosis. A diet that effectively lowers blood sugar may therefore prevent cardiovascular disease.

Blood cholesterol levels have long been the focus of attention for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Healthcare authorities have recommended a low-fat diet to lower blood fats, but high blood sugar is also an important risk factor for vascular damage. One example of this is demonstrated by the strong relationship between the blood sugar levels in people with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes and the risk of developing heart disease.

Furthermore, a large study from 2004 conducted on almost 5,000 people in Europe showed that nearly half the people who seek care for coronary artery disease have diabetes, and more than two out of ten have prediabetes. In total, seven out of ten people have problems with blood sugar control: The prevalence of abnormal glucose regulation in patients with coronary artery disease across Europe.

A diet that lowers blood sugar could prevent atherosclerosis

One explanation for the damaging effects of high blood sugar is that it can stimulate inflammation in blood vessel walls. The immune system is involved in the process that leads to atherosclerosis, and a rise in blood sugar seems to act as a stimulus to the immune cells: Hyperglycemia Promotes Myelopoiesis and Impairs the Resolution of Atherosclerosis.

Keeping blood sugar at a low and steady level using a low-glycemic (GI) or low-carbohydrate diet might help prevent cardiovascular disease. A study published in 2014 showed that a strict low-carbohydrate diet had a good effect on risk markers for cardiovascular disease: Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat DietsA Randomized Trial. There is a need for a study that not only evaluates the effect on risk markers, but also looks at the direct effect on the number of heart attacks and strokes. Intermittent fasting could also prevent cardiovascular disease because it contributes to lower blood sugar levels. One of the Dietary Science Foundation’s priorities is to investigate the effects of different blood sugar-lowering strategies on the group with the highest risk of cardiovascular disease: people with type 2 diabetes. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, it’s important to know what kind of diet best prevents damage to the blood vessels.