Sugar could harm blood pressure more than salt
For a long time, salt has been identified as one of the chief threats to healthy blood pressure, Now, however, a study published in the journal Open Heart suggests that sugars in general, and fructose in particular, may be more harmful.
Based on reviews of population-based studies, researchers noted that ingesting one 24-ounce soft drink has been shown to cause an average maximum increase in blood pressure of 15/9 mm Hg and heart rate of 9 bpm. In another study, they found that higher sugar intake significantly increases systolic (6.9 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (5.6 mm Hg) in trials of eight weeks or more in duration. The rate increased to 7.6/6.1 mm Hg when studies that received funding from the sugar industry were excluded. Overall, they found that those who consume 25 percent or more calories from added sugar have an almost threefold increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.
The researchers concluded that an increase in “sympathetic tone” from the overconsumption of fructose is one likely reason for the sugar’s ability to increase heart rate, cardiac output, renal sodium retention and vascular problems. However, it’s important to note that consuming sugar in its natural form, like in whole fruits, is not harmful and is likely beneficial.
The scientists did note that the negative impact of frutose was tied to its use in processed foods and that consuming it in its natural form, such as in whole fruit, isn't harmful.
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