Sugar is more harmful to health than salt

Sugar turns out to be more harmful to our body than salt, according to the results of a new study.

Added sugar in processed foods and fizzy drinks can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

The study authors are calling for dietary guidelines to focus more on the dangers of sugar.

They stress the need to highlight the dangers of fructose amid the fight to curb the spread of cardiovascular disease. They are the leading cause of premature death in the developed world.

Another important risk factor is high blood pressure – it was responsible for almost 350,000 deaths in the US in 2009. Treating hypertension costs the US health care system over 50000.0 million USD per year.

Historically, dietary advice for lowering high blood pressure has focused on reducing salt intake. But according to the authors of the new study, the effect of this approach is debatable.

They are convinced that the average reduction in blood pressure as a result of limiting salt intake is relatively small.

Some evidence suggests that 3 to 6 grams of salt per day may be optimal for health—in fact, anything below 6 grams is actually harmful. Salt is obtained from processed foods, which are also a rich source of added sugar, say the scientists.

“Sugar has a much greater effect on high blood pressure than sodium. This is due to the monosaccharide fructose,” say the authors of the study.

According to them, sugars in general, and fructose in particular, may contribute to the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. The most dangerous is fructose corn syrup, which is the most commonly used sweetener in processed foods with a fruit flavor, as well as in carbonated drinks.

“Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is responsible for 180,000 deaths annually,” the study said.

Sugar consumption has been increasing over the years – if about 300 years ago people consumed only a few kilograms of sugar per year, now they add that current estimates indicate that the average consumption in the US is between 170 and 334 kg per person per year.

The facts show that people whose dietary intake of added sugars makes up at least a quarter of their total daily calorie intake are three times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people , who consume less than 10 percent.

A daily intake of more than 74 grams of fructose was associated with a 30 percent greater risk of high blood pressure above 140/90 and 77 percent for levels above 160/100.

High fructose content in the diet is also associated with an unfavorable blood fat profile, high fasting blood insulin levels, and a doubling of the risk of metabolic syndrome.

At the same time, British and American teenagers were found to be consuming up to 16 times the recommended daily allowance of added sugars.

The authors of the study point out that naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are not harmful to health. “Just as dietary salt does not come from the salt shaker, healthy sugar does not come from the sugar shaker,” the scientists point out.

“There is clear evidence that even moderate doses of added sugar over a short period of time can cause enormous harm and contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease,” warns Professor of Vascular Medicine Dr Francesco Cappuccio of the University of Warwick.

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