Hypertension or high blood pressure is highly prevalent in the ageing population. Notably, diet and lifestyle have a strong influence on blood pressure. With this in mind, what is one of the worst food groups which experts strongly recommend reducing to help lower your readings?
Consuming too much added sugar raises a person’s blood pressure and increases chronic inflammation in the body, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.
Added sugar, especially in sugary beverages, also contributes to weight gain by tricking the body into turning off its appetite-control system.
This is because liquid calories do not offer the same satiety as solid foods.
This is why it is easier for people to add more calories to their regular diet when consuming sugary beverages creating a vicious cycle for blood pressure.
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In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues found an association between a diet with high amounts of added sugar and a greater risk of dying from heart disease.
Over the course of the 15-year study, alternative allopurinol 300 people who got 17 to 21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed eight percent of their calories as added sugar.
“Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease,” said Dr Hu.
“Your liver metabolises sugar the same way as alcohol and converts dietary carbohydrates to fat.
“Over time, this can lead to a greater accumulation of fat, which may turn into fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease.”
In another study published in the US National Library of Medicine, added sugar intake and its effect on blood pressure in older females was further analysed.
“We investigated the association between dietary factors and BP in older adults,” began the study.
“There was a significant association between intake of added sugar and systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in females after controlling for age, income, body mass index, physical activity levels, daily calorie intake, and BP medication use.
“Our findings support the dietary guidelines of limiting daily intake of added sugar and increasing fruit consumption to promote overall cardiovascular health in older adults.”
A review in the journal Open Heart dated from 2014 also noted that a high consumption of added sugars in the diet may be strongly and directly associated with high blood pressure.
The researchers wrote: “Evidence from epidemiological studies and experimental trials in animals and humans suggests that added sugars may increase blood pressure and blood pressure variability.”
There is little doubt that a massive reduction in added sugar, fructose, and only modest consumption of fruit can help when it comes to a healthy hypertension diet.
Carbs and sugar
Consuming carbohydrates has the same effect on the body as does sugar.
Carbohydrates are composed of sugars (such as fructose and glucose) which have simple chemical structures composed of only one sugar (monosaccharides) or two sugars (disaccharides).
Simple carbohydrates are easily and quickly utilised for energy by the body because of their simple chemical structure, often leading to a faster rise in blood sugar and insulin secretion from the pancreas – which can have negative health effects.
When consuming carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones and turns it into sugar which then enters the blood and raises a person’s blood pressure readings.
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