Where you store your fat is almost as important as how much body fat you have overall. As I have mentioned in numerous blogs, body fat acts as active biological tissue. It releases hormones and increases the risk of various diseases. There are two shapes defined by the location of fat storage; apple and pear shaped. Apple shaped people store fat around their midsection and waist. Think of older men with huge protruding stomachs. Pear shaped people store fat around their hips, thighs, and butts, and less around their waist. Many women fit this description.
This blog will discuss the ways in which a high intake of fructose can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (disease involving blood vessels and the heart). Fructose may cause heart disease by altering our lipid profile, raising blood pressure and causing the body to store more fat in the abdominal area. Excessive fructose intake also causes obesity, but this may be because we are consuming too many calories overall, not just as fructose. Most people are aware that added sugar causes diabetes and weight gain, but are not aware of the link between sugar intake and heart disease.
Dean Ornish is a medical doctor who advocates using nutrition to treat heart disease. He has published many books detailing his heart studies including his 2008 book called The Spectrum. Ornish headed many studies but I will highlight a few because I do not want to make the blog too long. All of his studies had participants change diet and engage in exercise and stress management so it is hard to prove which of these three caused all of the positive health effects. Diet likely plays the largest role as people that continue eating a western diet but exercise and engage in stress management still have very high rates of heart disease.