Preventing Heartache: Sugar Intake And Your Cardiovascular Health

Preventing Heartache: Sugar Intake And Your Cardiovascular Health

Many of us often find it difficult to resist the sweetness of sugar. However, it is no secret that sugar has a bad reputation when it comes to our health. While its immediate gratification is undeniable, the long-term effects of regular high sugar consumption are concerning, especially when considering our health.

Consuming too much sugar increases our risk of tooth decay, weight gain and diabetes. However, sugar is often overlooked when it comes to our heart health. It not only increases the risk of premature heart disease, heart attacks and stroke but can also reduce life expectancy.

Research consistently shows a direct correlation between excessive sugar intake and key risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Understanding what sugar does to our bodies can help us make better choices that lead to longer, healthier lives.

Understanding Sugar

Before recognising the effects of sugar on the heart, it is essential to understand what sugar is. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that the body uses for energy.

There are two primary types of sugar: naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy and added sugars. Added sugars are introduced to foods during processing, cooking, or at the table.

Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Fruits and vegetables also have high amounts of fibre, essential minerals and antioxidants. Since our bodies digest these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to our body.

What Are Free Sugars?

Free sugars refer to all sugars that are added to foods and drink, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. This term does not include sugars found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk because these foods do not have the same negative health effects as foods and drinks with added sugars.

The NHS and other health organisations recommend limiting the intake of free sugars to reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, tooth decay, and other health issues. The NHS recommends that free sugars contribute to no more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day. This is equivalent to 30g of free sugars each day (7 teaspoons).

The consumption of added sugars has been rising globally, paralleling an increase in heart disease rates. Figures show that the average adult in the UK is consuming twice the recommended amount of free sugars daily. Most of which comes from soft drinks, jam and chocolate spread, biscuits, pastries and cakes.

While sugar itself is not inherently bad, excessive intake can lead to various health issues, including heart disease.


We all know that excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Everyone needs some body fat to stay healthy. But too much, particularly around the waist, puts your health at risk. Visceral fat is the type of fat that sits around the organs such as our liver and heart and it is associated with increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. All of these conditions strain the heart and can lead to cardiovascular complications.

Weight gain and obesity can be influenced by:

  • Medical conditions 
  • Medication
  • Genetic make-up
  • Stress 
  • Lack of sleep
  • Diet

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. This causes the liver to store more fat and can lead to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can cause elevated blood sugar levels as glucose accumulates in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it accelerates the development of the condition, atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is where your arteries become narrowed due to a build-up of plaque, making it difficult for blood to flow through them and increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.


High sugar intake can trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation is another key player in the development of atherosclerosis.



Lipids are fat-like substances found in our blood and body tissues. Our body needs small amounts of lipids to work normally. Cholesterol is the main lipid found in our bodies and it is made up of different parts such as:

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol, is the main lipid that causes damaging build-up and blockage in our arteries. 
  • HDL (good) cholesterol helps to remove the extra LDL cholesterol and prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries.
  • Triglyceride is another lipid that may increase your risk for heart disease.

Consuming too much sugar can lead to increased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while decreasing HDL levels. This lipid profile is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Sugar is broken down by the liver, where it is converted into fat through a process called lipogenesis. Excess dietary sugar can lead to an accumulation of fat in the liver cells, contributing to the development of NAFLD.

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Although salt intake is more commonly associated with high blood pressure, chronic high sugar levels can also contribute to raised blood pressure. High sugar intake can lead to weight gain and inflammation, both of which can increase blood pressure.

Do You Know What Health Targets You Should Be Aiming For?

Cardiovascular system


We often judge our health based on our weight and the numbers we see on a scale.

However, the journey to a healthier heart (and body) starts by reviewing our body composition and understanding how excessive sugar consumption can affect us on the inside and not only focus on how we look and feel on the outside.

Know your numbers

What Is Body Mass Index?

The body mass index is a measure that uses your height and weight to calculate if your weight is healthy.


LDL cholesterol used to be the main measure of harmful types of cholesterol, but we now know that other forms of non-HDL cholesterol is also bad for our health, and this is what the healthcare professionals test for.


The more one's energy comes from sugar, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease.* 

* Associations between carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease risk, Kelly et al, 2023

A study reviewed the eating habits of over 110,000 people in the UK whose health outcomes were then tracked over nine years.
The results showed that every 5% increase in a person's total energy intake that comes from free sugars was associated with a 6% higher risk of heart disease and a 10% higher risk of stroke.   


Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the uk.*

Preventing High Sugar Levels: A Healthy (Heart) Choice

As highlighted above, the effects of high sugar levels can trigger high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. All of these factors can contribute to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The relationship between sugar and heart health is complex, but the evidence is clear: excessive sugar intake poses a significant risk to heart health. So, what can you do to reduce your risk factors?

Food Labels

Read Food Labels

Look for added sugars under names like sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose. Choose products with little to no added sugars.


Limit Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks, including soft drinks, juices, and sweetened teas, are major sources of added sugars. Opt for water, unsweetened teas, or sparkling water as healthier alternatives.

Choose Natures Sweet Treats

When you need a sweet fix, select natural sources like fruits. Fruits not only provide natural sugars but also come packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

 Natures Sweets Fruit

Cook At Home

Cooking at home allows you to control the amount and type of sugar in your meals. Experiment with reducing the sugar in recipes and using spices like cinnamon and vanilla to add sweetness.

Metabolic Gold

Metabolic Gold is our natural supplement formulated by expert pharmacists using high-strength bergamot fruit extract and artichoke leaf extract. These two botanical ingredients work harmoniously together to improve sugar control, balance cholesterol, support weight management and optimise liver health.

Both of these ingredients are rich in naturally occurring polyphenols that have been proven to change the way our bodies process, bind and store fats. We have also incorporated organic baobab (a natural prebiotic) to help promote gut health.

Taking one capsule twice a day with food will help to reduce your cardiovascular risk factors and support your metabolic health.

Shop Metabolic Gold Now


Call Our Pharmacist If You Have Concerns

If you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health or your health risks in general, please call our pharmacists for free advice. (+44) 01483 685 630

Dimple Varu

Dimple Varu

Dimple is a pharmacist with 12 years of experience working in retail and general practice and now specialises in providing education and advice on natural supplements.

She believes in the power of nature and using natural existing compounds to enhance our health, whether that’s treating pain or helping to prevent long term conditions. Mum of 1, living a busy life, loves reading and baking if she has the time.


Effects of sugar on the brain

The Bittersweet Truth – The Effects Of Sugar On The Brain

In this blog our pharmacist Dimple delves into the relationship between sugar consumption and its effects on the brain. Dimple aims to unravel the connection between excessive sugar intake and its impact on brain inflammation and the heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease.  In a world where sweet indulgences are abundant, understanding the potential consequences on cognitive health becomes imperative.


What Is Alzheimers Disease?

In our lifetime, one in two of us will be affected by dementia whether this is through caring for someone with the condition, developing it ourselves, or both. The NHS defines Alzheimer's disease a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects older adults, typically becoming noticeable after the age of 65. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time and can be divided into early, middle, and late stages.

(NHS Alzheimers Disease Symptoms)

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, evidence points to a link between high sugar intake and Alzheimer’s risk. (Alzheimers Research UK 2023)

Dementia is not a specific disease but is a general term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect the ability to think, remember, and perform everyday tasks. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia.

Alzheimers Disease Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease unfolds in distinct stages, each marked by varying symptoms that progressively intensify, posing challenges for both individuals with the condition and their caregivers.

In the early stages, subtle memory lapses manifest as forgetfulness about recent conversations, misplacement of items, and difficulty recalling names and objects.
Concurrently, signs of mood changes, anxiety, and repetitive questioning may emerge. As the disease advances into the middle stage, memory deterioration becomes more pronounced, leading to difficulty recognizing familiar faces and an escalation of confusion and disorientation.

Additional symptoms include impulsive behavior, delusions, speech and language problems, disturbed sleep, and changes in mood. Individuals often require support for daily activities as cognitive decline accelerates. In the later stages, full-time care becomes a necessity.
Alzheimers and dementia

Deaths registered in England and Wales -ONS UK

What Is Type 3 Diabetes?

Evidence shows that poorly controlled blood sugar can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. This relationship is so strong that Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as diabetes of the brain or Type 3 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is vital for glucose regulation and plays a crucial role in maintaining cognitive function. However, when the brain becomes resistant to insulin, it struggles to utilise glucose effectively, potentially contributing to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Does sugar cause inflammation?

Excessive sugar intake has been implicated in chronic inflammation throughout the body, and the brain is no exception. Neuroinflammation, triggered by the body’s response to poorly controlled sugar levels, is now recognised as a potential contributor to Alzheimer's disease. The inflammatory response in the brain can lead to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Excessive Sugar

Symptoms of too much sugar in your body

It's important to note that the body reacts differently to sugar depending on individual health, metabolism, and the amount and type of sugar consumed. Here are some common symptoms associated with excessive sugar intake:

  • Weight gain: high sugar intake, especially from sugary drinks, can contribute to weight gain due to its high calorie content and its ability to increase hunger and craving for more sugary foods.
  • Low energy: consuming a lot of sugar can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by sharp drops, which can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and hunger.
  • Dental problems: sugar is a leading cause of dental cavities and gum disease as sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Mood changes: excessive sugar consumption can lead to mood swings, irritability, and may even contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Skin issues: high sugar diets can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne and can contribute to premature aging of the skin.
  • Fatty liver disease: excessive intake of fructose, a type of sugar, can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver, which can progress to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Impact on Sleep: High sugar consumption, especially close to bedtime, can interfere with your ability to have a restful night's sleep.

The Scientific Evidence

A 2021 study involving 1865 adults over 19 years found a higher risk of Alzheimer's, all types of dementia, and stroke in people who consumed the most sugar, especially in the form of drinks.

A study with 37,689 people found a link between high sugar intake and increased Alzheimer’s risk among women.

A review undertaken in 2022 found that people with type 2 diabetes are up to 90% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

A 2022 study with 4,932 people found that the link between Alzheimer’s, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol can begin as early as age 35. Researchers followed the participants over decades. They found that managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels early may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later. 

Metabolic Gold

Metabolic Gold is our natural supplement formulated using pure artichoke leaf extract and bergamot fruit extract. These two botanicals contain bioactive compounds that provides effective support to help control sugar levels and therfore reduce your risk of dementia.

Metabolic Gold will help to improve sugar metabolism, reduce insulin resistance and restore normal cholesterol balance and weight management.

Metabolic Gold

How does Metabolic Gold work?

Metabolic Gold will help to regulate the enzyme, alpha-glucosidase, which is involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars. By inhibiting this enzyme, you can slow down the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract, leading to more stable blood sugar levels.

The cholesterol-lowering effects are achieved through stimulating bile flow which in turn helps to break down, bind and excrete excess cholesterol from the body.

Here at The Naked Pharmacy we ensure all of our supplements are formulated using scientific evidence to ensure that they are safe and effective. Here is some trial data to support the use of Metabolic Gold to help manage your sugar levels and reduce the risk of dementia.

A study undertaken in 2019 involving 60 participants found that supplementation with bergamot fruit extract resulted in a significant reduction in sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Another study found that supplementing with artichoke leaf extract for 60 days improved sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and reduced LDL cholesterol and weight circumference.

Protecting the Brain

It’s never too late to make the lifestyle changes needed to protect your health. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk by managing your sugar levels.

Balanced Nutrition

Healthy diet

Opt for a diet rich in whole foods, emphasising fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Minimise processed foods and refined sugars. Be wary about hidden sugars in processed foods, drinks, and snacks. Read labels and choose low-sugar alternatives when possible.

Foods with Anti Inflammatory properties

Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as beans, avocados, green leafy vegetables, berries, fish and incorporate spices such as turmeric and ginger into your cooking.

What are Inflammatory Foods?

Avoid foods that can cause inflammation such as processed meat, red meat (steak, hamburgers), bread and pasta made with white flour, baked goods (cakes, cookies) and bad sugars.

Our Natruflex Turmeric capsules contain high-strength turmeric containing 95% curcuminoids (the compounds responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects) alongside black pepper extract to increase absorption of the turmeric and we’ve also added in Marine Magnesium.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity not only helps regulate blood sugar levels but also promotes overall brain health by enhancing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Regular Exercise

Cognitive Stimulation

Mental stimulation is vital for maintaining cognitive function. Engage in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles, reading, and learning new skills.

Call our pharmacist if you have concerns

If you have any concerns about sugar or cholesterol or your health risks in general, please call our pharmacists for free advice. (+44) 01483 685 630

Dimple Varu

Dimple Varu

Dimple is a pharmacist with 12 years of experience working in retail and general practice and now specialises in providing education and advice on natural supplements.

She believes in the power of nature and using natural existing compounds to enhance our health, whether that’s treating pain or helping to prevent long term conditions. Mum of 1, living a busy life, loves reading and baking if she has the time.


Shop Metabolic Gold Now

Metabolic Gold