High sugar (carbohydrate) diets are a leading cause obesity. New research also shows that high sugar intake is associated with elevated blood pressure. Data published in The American Society of Nephrology links diets high in fructose, a common sugar, to hypertension. Individuals who consumed above average amounts of fructose had a 30 percent greater risk of high blood pressure.
What the study does not do is show cause and effect, and clearly this is just the tip of the iceberg in the hotly contested battle over high fructose corn syrup. There are some good reasons why this association may exist:
- The combination of sugar, salt and fat are particularly addicting. People who eat lots of sugar probably use salt to excess. These associations are well documented in David Kessler’s book, “The End of Overeating.” Dr. Kessler was a former head of the FDA and spokesperson in the fight against obesity.
- A large intake of sugar leads to release of inflammatory factors in the bloodstream. This can lead to a cascade of events, possibly constriction of blood vessels. Other effects of inflammation are blood clotting and plaque formation in arteries. People are known to be at increased risk of heart disease when they have elevated CRP levels. CRP is a measure of inflammation in the body.
At Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, we favor a diet high in vegetables, lower sugar (non-tropical) fruits, and lean proteins, and moderately low in sugar, especially simple sugars. When we show people how to lose weight, they frequently feel less hungry. Our internal studies show a decrease in blood pressure after only modest amounts of weight.