It has been common knowledge for decades that salt is one of the main causes of heart disease, but now a new study published in the American Journal of Cardiac Science is saying that there may be a sweeter culprit at fault — sugar.
The study, overseen by Dr. James DiNicolantonio, looked over several years worth of data to reach its conclusion — that sugar may be to blame for high rate of heart disease. The group highlighted a recent French study with 8,670 patients, which also claimed to find scant evidence that salt is the cause of high blood pressure and other cardiac illnesses.
“It is sugar not the salt that may be the actual causative factor for high blood pressure… This notion is supported by meta analyses of randomized control trials (large-scale studies) suggesting that sugar is more strongly related to blood pressure in humans than sodium. Encouraging consumers to hold the sugar, not the salt, may be the better dietary strategy to achieve blood pressure control.”
Hailing from Kansas City and New York, the research group explains the conclusion by reasoning that a certain area of the brain is stimulated by sugar, causing blood pressure to rise and the body to carry out activity more quickly. Additionally, the group believes a low amount of salt in the blood may cause certain fats to increase in number. Contrary to accepted belief, the researchers advise that imposing dietary restrictions that reduce the consumption of salt may actually be negatively affecting your health in the end.
‘We argue the opposite, a reduction in salt intake may lead to an increased intake in processed foods (and added sugars) and, thereby, increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.’
The conclusion that sugar causes heart disease more than salt, however, is still definitely in its infancy. Professor Graham McGregor, an expert in cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, scoffed at the researchers’ claim that sugar is more dangerous to the heart than salt, reported The Daily Mail. He claimed that the research being presented by the journal was “incredibly weak” and doesn’t compare to the decades’ worth of research that have definitively linked salt to high rates of cardiac disease.
The American Dietary Association currently recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Sugar, on the other hand, has an upper limit of 50 grams per day according to the World Health Organization.
[Image via Scott Fox and Kate Callaghan]