American movie star Tom Cruise stunned fans worldwide in his latest movie Top Gun. It is said that one of his secrets to staying young is that he doesn’t eat sugar. But is sugar really that bad?

Dr. Ou Han Wen, a doctor of integrative medicine and nutrition at the University of Maryland, tells us how to eat sugar healthily.

According to a survey conducted by the University of Oxford, which studied the dietary habits of more than 110,000 people in the UK for about nine years, for every five percent increase in free sugar intake, the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke increased by 6 percent and 10 percent respectively.

Why does eating sugar increase cardiovascular risk? Ou said sugar generates chronic inflammation in the body. When blood vessels become inflamed, cholesterol will be increased to repair the inflamed vessels. Excessive cholesterol deposited in the blood vessels can become plaque and blockages, resulting in elevated blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

In addition to causing cardiovascular disease, Ou cited a study in Nature’s Scientific Reports, which found that high blood sugar increases the risk of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins around nerve cells, causing the nerve fibers to twist into a mass and gradually die. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is the brain’s natural scavenging mechanism that cleans up abnormal proteins in the brain. However, when the body has too much sugar, the effect of MIF is inhibited, resulting in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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