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Sugars Linked to Hypertension, as Dangerous as Added Salt

Added sugar in food - especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup - is linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and may be more related to blood pressure than sodium.

Melissa Taylor, Modern Readers, Dec 15, 2014

Recent dietary guidelines released in December 11, 2014 by the BMJ-British Medical Journal has revealed that added sugar in food is linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Right now, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of premature death in the United States. High blood pressure is the foremost risk factor that causes the disease.

In the US alone, there were 350,000 deaths due to cardiovascular disease back in year 2009. Medical costs for the treatment of the preventable disease costs a staggering $50 billion in health care every year.

Dieticians and nutritionists have therefore focused on cutting the salt from diets to lower the risk of heart disease. However, new research shows that the reduction of blood pressure achieved by salt restriction is relatively diminutive and does nothing to improve blood pressure in adults and teens.

Excessively cutting salt from the diet has also been proven to be harmful, and at least 3-6 grams of sodium is recommended for optimal health. Going below 3 grams is proven to be harmful.

Salt often comes from processed foods such as canned goods and frozen goods. Along with being high in salt and fat, processed foods also tend to be high in sugar, which researchers now believe contribute to high blood pressure in the same way salt does.

“Sugar may be much more meaningfully related to blood pressure than sodium, as suggested by a greater magnitude of effect with dietary manipulation,” says the Medical Journal.

The worst sugar that contributes to high blood pressure is monosaccharide fructose, which is more commonly known as high fructose corn syrup. The fructose is often found in a vast number of processed foods, and is a primary sweetener in fruit flavored juices as well as soda pop.

The researchers also state that the consumption of sweetened beverages have contributed to an estimated of 180,000 worldwide deaths a year.

Estimates show that people who take more than 74 grams of fructose a day, or those who total caloric intake consist of 25% of their daily diet are at 77% increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The scientists suggest that the consumption of high fructose foods be kept to a minimum to avoid the onset of hypertension and heart disease.

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