Sugar, Salt and Blood Pressure
In the last few years, a significant number of cardiologists have come to an agreement that salt is no longer the biggest cause for blood pressure. Its place is now being taken by sugar. A recent Open Heart study argues that sugar intake and consumption may be significantly worse than salt consumption when it comes to blood pressure.
Which Is Worse, Sugar or Salt?
Although the jury is still out on which of these two crystals is worse for blood pressure, what is clearly known is that neither sugar nor salt is good for your heart in high amounts. For those suffering from blood pressure or any heart related diseases, it is highly advisable to keep your eyes on both. However, several medical researches and studies have continued to unearth evidence that sugar is indeed worse than salt when it comes to blood pressure. In his article that was published on the Open Heart journal on December 11 2015, cardiologist Dr. James J stated that all the emphasis on dietary sodium reduction that were aimed at lowering blood pressure were completely non evidence-based and misguided. Explained below are some of the reasons Dr. James J stated supporting his argument that sugar is worse than salt when it comes to blood pressure.
Sugar causes metabolic syndrome:
Metabolic syndrome, in simpler terms, is a conglomeration of cardio-vascular markers and it includes high cholesterol, high blood fats, excess weight and insulin resistance. High levels of cholesterol in the body leads to the constriction of blood vessels, which highly triggers blood pressure. Read more about Understanding LDL or Bad Cholesterol.
Sugar, unlike salt, increases insulin levels:
“Consumption of sugar causes an increase in the amount of insulin present in the blood,” Dr. James said “An increase of insulin in the blood leads to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This, as a result, leads to an increased blood pressure and heart rate,” the doctor continues.
Sugar lowers the sensitivity of the blood pressure receptors in the body:
Dr. James says that the body has its own mechanism of controlling blood pressure and that the brain sends signals to the relevant body parts in order to keep blood pressure at its normal pace. He says that an increased intake of sugar makes these brain receptors highly insensitive and ultimately renders them ineffective. As such, they are in no position to regulate the blood pressure level.
Sugar depletes the body’s ATP cells:
The ATP cells are the body’s energy stores. Sugar contains high energy levels. Increased intake of sugar causes an overflow of energy which may overwork the ATP cells. This, Dr. James says, constricts the blood vessels thereby increasing blood pressure.
Sugar, unlike salt, contains fructose:
The American Heart Association’s latest journal on blood pressure notes that fructose is very detrimental to an individual’s cardio-vascular system. Fructose causes an increase in the pulse rate, increases triglycerides and reduces the production of insulin. These effects are a major cause of blood pressure.
Dr. James concludes his article by advising people to always ensure that they eat whole foods, worry less about their salt intake as they avoid added sugars at all costs.