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article imageWhich is worse: Sugar or salt?

By Tim Sandle     Dec 13, 2014 in Health
London - Which is worse for you: sugar or salt? Conflicting information is presented to consumers year-on-year. A new row has erupted on this issue within the scientific community.
A team of scientists based in the U.S. argue that people need to focus on cutting sugar intake more than salt. In fact, they go as far to suggest the benefits of lowering salt levels are questionable. These arguments have been published in the journal Open Heart.
After reviewing a considerable volume of medical research, the scientific consortium conclude that sugar, especially fructose, plays a stronger role in high blood pressure and other cardiac conditions than salt. Fructose is found in many processed foods and soft drinks. Commercially, fructose is frequently derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and corn. Fructose is the sweetest of all naturally occurring carbohydrates. In general, fructose is regarded as being 1.73 times as sweet as sucrose.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends sugars should make up less than ten percent of total energy intake per day. This equates to a maximum of 50 grams of sugar for the average adult.
In the paper, the authors argue:
Reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but might also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease.
In relation to salt, the group argue seeking to reduce salt in processed food may actually push people to eat more foods containing salt.
This emphasis on sugar over salt has angered other nutritionists. According to the BBC, other researchers counter-argue that the claims are "disingenuous" and "scientifically unnecessary". They maintain that both sugar and salt levels need to be lowered as part of the average diet.
Here Professor Francessco Cappuccio, at the University of Warwick states: “The emphasis on reducing sugar and not salt is disingenuous. Both should be targeted at population level for an effective approach to cardiovascular prevention. The shift in attention from salt to sugar is scientifically unnecessary and unsupported.”
The controversial paper is published through the British Medical Association. It is titled “The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease.”
More about Sugar, Salt, Heart, Blood pressure, Heart attack
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