Don’t deprive yourself of dessert just because you’re eager to get your blood pressure under control. Lucan SC. The evidence is clear that even moderate doses of added sugar for short durations may cause substantial harm. Hence even potentially misdirected dietary guidelines could serendipitously result in benefit. Cuts Estimate of Sugar Intake. A Closer Look at Sugar Addiction Generally speaking, many people get addicted to sugar when their diet is loaded with processed sugar. Sugar can sneak into many unexpected foods, making the difficult goal of eating well even more challenging.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature mortality in the developed world, and hypertension is its most important risk factor. Controlling hypertension is a major focus of public health initiatives, and dietary approaches have historically focused on sodium. While the potential benefits of sodium-reduction strategies are debatable, one fact about which there is little debate is that the predominant sources of sodium in the diet are industrially processed foods. Processed foods also happen to be generally high in added sugars, the consumption of which might be more strongly and directly associated with hypertension and cardiometabolic risk. Evidence from epidemiological studies and experimental trials in animals and humans suggests that added sugars, particularly fructose, may increase blood pressure and blood pressure variability, increase heart rate and myocardial oxygen demand, and contribute to inflammation, insulin resistance and broader metabolic dysfunction. Thus, while there is no argument that recommendations to reduce consumption of processed foods are highly appropriate and advisable, the arguments in this review are that the benefits of such recommendations might have less to do with sodium—minimally related to blood pressure and perhaps even inversely related to cardiovascular risk—and more to do with highly-refined carbohydrates. It is time for guideline committees to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more-consequential food additive: sugar. A reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but might also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease. The predominant sources of sodium in the diet, processed foods, are also generally high in added sugars, the consumption of which might be more strongly and directly associated with hypertension and cardiometabolic risk. Clinicians should shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more-consequential food additive: sugar.
This content references scientific studies and academic research, and is fact-checked to ensure accuracy. Our team of licensed nutritionists and dietitians strives to be objective, unbiased, and honest. We are committed to bringing you researched, expert-driven content to help you make more informed decisions around food, health, and wellness. We know how important making choices about your overall health is, and we strive to provide you with the best information possible. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with high blood pressure hypertension or you’re just doing your research because high blood pressure runs in your family, you should know about the important role diet plays in managing this condition. To prevent and manage high blood pressure, you should not only remove the unhealthy foods causing the problem from your diet, but you can also eat more foods that lower blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the force of the blood moving to and from your heart pushes too hard on your arteries, according to the American Heart Association. According to the CDC, a whopping 75 million Americans—that’s nearly a third of the adult population—struggle with high blood pressure.