Sugar or salt? Which is the worst villain?

“Stop homepage image! Don’t add any sugar or salt to your food – they’re both bad for you!” Ah yes, the 2 health villains you’ve heard so much about! They both give your body a hard time, but is one more dangerous than the other? It’s time to put them under the spotlight.

Why is sugar dangerous?

“I feel completely fine, what are you talking about?” That’s exactly the point. Sugar makes food and drinks taste great, but too much of it can cause your blood pressure to rise -this is known as hypertension.

Hypertension is also referred to as “The Silent Killer”. Why? Because you could have a high BP without showing any symptoms.

Apart from hypertension, a high-sugar diet can also cause you to gain weight. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate found in your favourite ‘comfort’ foods such as sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks.

These are unhealthy carbs and are more easily stored as unnecessary fat in your body.

So, is one worse than the other?

Adding less salt to your meals will help keep your BP stable, but a recent study suggests that sugar is actually the main cause of hypertension. Avoid any food and drinks that have:

  • Added sugar
  • Fructose (fruit sugar)
  • Corn syrup

Do you still feel hungry after you’ve eaten a meal? You may have leptin resistance – Leptin is the hormone that tells your body when you’re full and its function is lessened by those on a fructose-rich diet.

If you do feel this way on a regular basis, go and get your blood sugar, and pressure checked by your doctor.

Read  Why you need to watch your blood pressure

Is salt alright, then?

No, a diet that’s high in salt can still cause a high BP. Salt specifically, causes fluid retention, which increases the pressure of your blood on your blood vessels.

Complications of high blood pressure include:

  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary Heart Disease

The bottom line? Diets rich in salt and sugar can cause your blood pressure to rise, but studies have shown that sugar increases your chances more than salt. The best way to control your blood pressure? Cut down on both of these.

Sources: MedPageToday, World Action on Salt, Huffington Post