Sugar, Not Salt Is The Culprit In High Blood Pressure

For more than a century, medical researchers have warned of the dangers salt poses on high blood pressure and cardiovascular deaths. But recent evidence is turning that belief upside down and suggesting it’s not salt but sugars in our diets that are driving up numbers related to heart health. A recent study published in BMJ Open Heart suggests that fructose is actually the more dangerous culprit when it comes to hypertension and heart disease.

Cutting back on salt may not be as beneficial for your health as previously believed. A 2011 meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration even found that reducing your intake of sodium could actually increase chances of fatal heart disease, particularly when it comes to sources like sea and table salt. Processed foods are a major culprit, since they’re often high in both added sugar and dietary salts, making them doubly dangerous.

Evidence from across scientific disciplines has highlighted the damaging effects of sugar on blood pressure. In particular, fructose was found to be a major contributing factor in hypertension. Sadly, due to an increase in processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup consumption, Americans are now consuming more than 77-152 pounds per year, equal to approximately 24-47 teaspoons daily. This is far higher than 300 years ago when people only ate a few pounds annually. Alarmingly, 13% of US citizens consume 25% or more calories as added sugars which triples their risk for dying from cardiovascular causes.

Despite general health guidelines suggesting 25% of daily diet should consist of added sugar, when it’s fructose this can have a marked and dangerous effect on blood pressure. Consuming over 74g per day is associated with an alarming 77% greater risk for elevated readings above the recommended 160/100 mm Hg level. It appears that processed food sources are at fault here and fresh fruits and vegetables containing natural sugars do not produce any harmful effects.

While processed foods may appear to be delicious, they can increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Instead of reaching for artificial sweeteners, try incorporating more natural ones like honey or maple syrup into your diet in moderation. Ditch regular table salt and replace it with either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink sea salt for both flavor and health benefits.

To view the original scientific study click below:
The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease