Added sugars in processed foods are likely to have a greater role in high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke than added salt, warn researchers. Dietary guidelines to lower high blood pressure have historically focused on cutting salt intake but most salt in diet comes from processed foods which also happen to be a rich source of added sugars, the researchers pointed out.
“Sugar may be much more meaningfully related to blood pressure than sodium as suggested by a greater magnitude of effect with dietary manipulation”, the authors stated in an analysis of the published evidence. Researchers from St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute reviewed a selection of evidence from basic science, population studies and clinical trials implicates sugars and particularly fructose, as playing a major role in the development of hypertension.
The evidence suggest that people whose dietary intake of added sugars adds up to at least a quarter of their total daily calories have almost triple the cardiovascular disease risk of those who consumes less than 10%.
A daily intake of more than 74 gram of fructose is associated with a 30% greater risk of blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg and a 77% increased risk of blood pressure above 160/100 mm Hg.
Worldwide, sugar sweetened beverage consumption has been implicated in 1,80,000 deaths every year. Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables are not harmful to health, they concluded.