When it comes to flavoring up your food, what’s your go-to spice of choice? Pepper? Garlic salt? Lawry’s? Admit it: you probably would say salt. And while it’s been known to cause plenty of health problems if used too frequently, salt in moderate amounts isn’t all that bad– in fact, your body needs it, and your food often does, too (no offense!).
But while salt has been the suspect food additive of choice for years, believed to raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels if consumed too often, it’s actually sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup [HFCS] especially) that could be the biggest blood-pressure-raising bad boy, claims research found in the journal Open Heart.
Evaluating current literature, researchers uncovered evidence that consuming 74 grams of fructose each day is linked with a 30 percent higher risk of developing stage one hypertension (high blood pressure) and a 77 percent greater risk of developing stage 2 hypertension!
Knowing this, added sugars most likely mean more for your hypertension than dietary sodium, the study authors concluded. Specifically, fructose especially could raise cardiovascular risk by “inciting metabolic dysfunction” while simultaneously raising blood pressure variability, heart rate, myocardial oxygen demand, and inflammation throughout your body.
So does that mean you should throw out the sugar and spice, and everything nice, this Christmas? Just have bland food from here on out? No, because neither salt nor sugar are your biggest enemy. In fact, the real food foe you’ve got to look out for is the white stuff food manufacturers fill your food with in the first place. That’s because processed grub is infamous for its shockingly high amounts of salt and added sugars alike.
Did you know that store-bought lasagna, for example, has more than 600 mg of sodium– and roughly six grams of sugar? So cutting out that one meal accomplishes the removal of much of the excess salt and sugar present in your diet. This is just one example of the many processed foods most Americans consume on a weekly basis that are packed with the two white crystally additives responsible for spiking their blood pressure, sugar in particular. Researchers agree that doing away with sugar compounds in processed foods is a “bigger victory” than passing up on salt in the process, though both are commendable in today’s Fat America.
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