Nancy Dell: Health risks of sugar; Copper pipes affecting brain

1. We limit animal fat to reduce our risk of heart disease.  Does sugar play a role?
Hank, Internet 

When we think about heart disease we typically think about reducing animal fats like butter, eggs, and meat. But according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the amount of sugar you eat can increase your risk of death from heart disease up to 50 percent.

The more sugar you eat the greater your risk even if you do not have diabetes or are not overweight. For example, the researchers say you could be eating a 2,000-calorie diet, not overeating, and not be overweight. But if you drink a can of soda a day, which has 9 teaspoons of sugar, you increase your risk of dying from heart disease 33 percent.

The average American eats about 75 grams or 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Clearly we know sugar is in cakes and cookies but it can also be hidden in foods like salad dressing, bread, yogurt and condiments like ketchup and pasta sauce. So read your labels. Your food has added sugar if you see words that end in the letters “-ose” like fructose and sucrose as well as healthy sounding ingredients like malted barley and brown rice syrup.

A cup of milk of milk or plain yogurt can have 12 grams of sugar. A piece of fruit can have 15 grams of sugar. These sugars are fine. The problem is with added sugar.

2. Does the copper in pipes increase my risk of Alzheimer’s? 
Jenna, Agawam

According to the Archives of Neurology, as we age, our bodies may improperly store some metals like copper in the brain. This can damage brain cells.

One study shows, consuming copper and a high fat diet may result in a mental decline equal to 19 years.  Experts suggest if you have copper pipes, use a reverse-osmosis water filter.

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