Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death. It kills more than 17.5 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Singapore isn’t immune to these statistics. In fact, our numbers are higher than in many other first-world countries.
How prevalent is heart disease in Singapore?
In 2015, heart disease and strokes accounted for 29.6% of deaths in Singapore. This means nearly one in three people die from heart diseases in Singapore. In contrast, the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease in the UK and Belgium is 20%.
Between 2007 and 2013, the number of heart attacks per 100 000 people in Singapore increased from 6 817 to 9 463.
Increased heart disease among young people
Even more alarming is the increase of heart disease among young people.
In 2007, only 8.5 per 100,000 people aged 30 to 34 were diagnosed with heart disease.
In 2013, this figure shot up to 12.1 per 100,000 people for the same age group.
The figures for heart disease in people aged 55 to 59, who are typically more likely to suffer from heart disease, remained mostly unchanged.
These statistics suggest that the lifestyle of younger people is making them unhealthier, and more prone to heart disease.
Our fast-paced way of life places stress on the body. We are always on the run and often don’t have the time for a balanced diet. We rely on fast food and sugary snacks to keep us going.
Poor diets contribute to heart disease and diabetes
Increasingly, medical professionals are blaming high-sugar, carb-heavy diets for the increased incidence of heart disease in Singapore’s younger people.
Poor diet also increases the risk of diabetes.
One study found that South East Asians are twice as likely to have diabetes as Swedish people. High sugar levels correlated directly with levels of obesity in the two groups.
A 2016 study found that in Singapore, 54% of people who were diagnosed with acute heart failure were also diabetic. This is double the figure for New Zealand, where only 24% of heart failure patients were also diabetic.
This evidence points to a national health crisis.
The good news is that each one of us holds the key to better health. It comes down to our lifestyle choices, and in particular, our dietary choices.
A keto diet rewires the body’s energy source
The word “keto” has become synonymous with a low-carb diet. But what is it exactly?
A ketogenic diet is one that allows the liver to produce ketones – energy from fat molecules instead of carbohydrates.
A keto diet derives 60% to 75% of energy-producing calories from fat, 15% to 30% from protein and 5% to 10% from carbohydrates.
This is in direct contradiction to many of our more traditional, carb-heavy diets.
Carbohydrates convert to glucose and the body draws energy from the glucose. The excess glucose that’s not burned as energy is stored in our bodies as fat, directly contributing to weight gain and other health issues.
The benefits of a low-carb/keto diet for heart health
The most visible effect of a keto diet, and a key reason why many people follow it, is weight loss.
Some studies indicate that people who are obese are as much as 49% more likely to develop heart disease. For those who are overweight, losing weight means better heart health.
A keto diet may reduce the risk of heart disease in other ways, too.
Fat that accumulates in and around the heart is one of the factors that increases the risk of heart disease. An interesting 2017 study found that a low-carb/Mediterranean diet was more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing this fat.
The group on the low-carb/Mediterranean diet lost twice as much intrapericardial-fat (IPF) as those on the low-fat diet, despite losing similar amounts of weight overall.
A large number of studies from reputable sources have firmly debunked the idea that a low-fat diet – particularly a diet low in saturated fats – is good for the heart.
Protecting your heart health
The good news is that simply reducing the quantity of carbohydrates and sugary processed foods you eat can have immediate health benefits.
BenBanter can help you on your journey to a healthier you. We offer a range of convenient, low-carb/keto snacks.
Our low-carb products, from crackers and keto bars to cheese puffs and more, are delicious and completely free of unhealthy ingredients. Visit our online shop to browse our full range.