Should You Skip Sugar Or Salt For Your Heart Health?

Should You Skip Sugar Or Salt For Your Heart Health?

For years, we have been told and we believe that cutting back on salt intake is good for the heart. However, a new study says that sugar scores worse than salt when it comes to heart health. The results of the study were published in this week’s issue of the journal Open Heart.

Though sugar has never been deemed good for health and has been linked with diabetes and obesity, this study says that sugar increases blood pressure more than salt.

Researchers from the St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and Montefiore Medical Center found out that sugar, particularly fructose, has more impact in high blood pressure and several other heart health problems than salt does. They could say so after evaluating various evidences using human research, animal studies and experiments.

Fructose corn syrup is an additive used for sweetening numerous packaged products in the market. Adding just 25% more of daily recommended calorie intake can already increase heart disease risk to 3 times than those who consume less than 10% more. Increasing the intake of the same artificial sugar to over 74 grams can also cause the blood pressure to shoot up considerably.

Sugar also increases the risk of developing several metabolic syndromes, like the body becomes resistant to insulin. Added sugar also increases the level of glucose in the blood even when a person is not eating.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the intake of added sugars everyday to half of an individual’s discretionary allowance. That amounts to about 9 teaspoons of sugar a day for men and for around 6 teaspoons a day for women. Added sugar intake comes mainly from sugar-sweetened beverages, cereal products and confectionery items such as cakes and biscuits.

“Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular risk by inciting metabolic dysfunction and increasing blood pressure variability, myocardial oxygen demand, heart rate, and inflammation,” the authors wrote.

DiNicolantonio, who is an associate editor of Open Heart, was more blunt in an interview withMedPage Today, calling sodium restriction guidelines “the greatest con in preventive nutrition in human history.”

“The studies tell us that 3 to 4 grams of sodium (daily) is the level associated with the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, so why do the guidelines all tell us to consume less than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams) of sodium a day,” he said.

Could sugar be worse for you than salt?

Scientists debate which flavor enhancer is more dangerous to your health, in a recently published paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)   ( .
Findings suggest that dietary guidelines for treating hypertension and subsequent cardiovascular disease should be focused on reducing the amount of sugars consumed by those at an increased risk of heart disease.
“Sugar may be much more meaningfully related to blood pressure than sodium, as suggested by a greater magnitude of effect with dietary manipulation,” noted researchers, in a news release. “Compelling evidence from basic science, population studies, and clinical trials implicates sugars, and particularly the monosaccharide fructose, as playing a major role in the development of hypertension (high blood pressure).”
During the study, researchers focused specifically on added fructose, which is oftentimes found in many processed foods and sugary drinks. However, naturally occurring sugars found in whole foods are not a cause for concern.

“Just as most dietary sodium does not come from the salt shaker, most dietary sugar does not come from the sugar bowl; reducing consumption of added sugars by limiting processed foods containing it, made by corporations, would be a good place to start,” the research team added. “The evidence is clear that even moderate doses of added sugar for short durations may cause substantial harm.”

Yet not all health officials seemed to agree that limiting salt and sugar would provide the health benefits many were looking for.
“The emphasis on reducing sugar and salt is disingenuous,” Francesco Cappuccio, cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology professor at the University of Warwick, told BBC News.”Both should be targeted at population level for an effective approach to cardiovascular prevention. The shift in attention from salt to sugar is scientifically unnecessary and unsupported.”
Researchers noted that lowering salt consumption under certain levels could be detrimental to health. Furthermore, could reducing salt in processed foods make some individuals more inclined to eat more?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the consumption of daily added sugars to 6 teaspoons a day for women at 100 calories and 9 teaspoons a day for men at 150 calories.

continued on next page

Next Page »

Previous 1 2 3 Next

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required