Lower sugar intake could reduce hypertension in days, study finds

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the precursor of serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes. Often dubbed silent killer, the condition doesn’t trigger many warning signs while laying out this dangerous groundwork. Fortunately, simple dietary tweaks could help keep hypertension at bay.

Whether you treat yourself to some milk chocolate to beat the midday slump or pop a can of a sugary drink open after a long day at work, Britons are not immune to the appeal of sugar.

According to Blood Pressure UK, adults eat far too much sugar in their diets, with just a can of most sugary drinks packing more than 30 grams (g).

However, the government recommends that only five percent of your calorie intake comes from free sugars, which is the equivalent of 30g.

What’s more, cutting back on the sweet ingredient could see your blood pressure reading fall in as little as 10 days, according to research.

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A study, published in the journal Obesity, looked at 27 Latino and 16 African American obese children aged between eight to 18 years.

These children regularly consumed high volumes of sugar, measured at over 15 percent of their dietary intake.

The research team instructed the participants to reduce their sugar intake to just 10 percent.

However, these children were still allowed starchy foods like bagels and pasta or unhealthy grubs like crisps and supermarket pizzas.

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After nine days of this food regimen, the researchers found that cutting back on sugar reduced blood pressure as well as cholesterol.

While this study shows some interesting findings, it was conducted only on a small participant sample, meaning that more research might be needed.

Despite this being just one piece of research, sugar has been long linked to high blood pressure.

Joseph Ambani, Medical Director from GlowBar, said: “One of the main effects of consuming too much sugar is weight gain, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure.” 

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The sweet ingredient can also increase inflammation in your body which has been shown to be a contributing factor to high blood pressure, according to the expert.

While you might want to cross out any type of sugar from your next shopping list, the ingredient is also hidden in a variety of foods you buy in the supermarket.

What’s worse, foods like pasta sauces or healthy cereal bars can also be packed with sugar.

Ambani recommended being mindful of the following foods. He said: “[While] natural sugars from fruits and vegetables are generally considered healthy, fruit juice…is also high in sugar. 

“Drinking too much fruit juice can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”

Another “surprising” food that can be rich in sugar as well as salt – another risk factor for blood pressure when consumed in high amounts – includes salad dressings.

Furthermore, energy and granola bars can also be packed with the stuff, despite seeming healthy.

The last culprit is flavoured yoghurt, which can have “as much sugar as a candy bar”, according to Ambani.

Fortunately, reading the food labels and ingredient lists on your groceries can inform your choices and help you cut down, benefiting your blood pressure.

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