The Sugar and High Blood Pressure Connection
Sugar and High Blood Pressure Awareness
I have a very sweet tooth which I too readily appease by regular indulgence of chocolates and the like. As you can imagine, I am always battling to keep my weight down so it’s a problem I am currently working on.
This page will highlight the dangers and heighten the awareness of eating too much of it, helping me and you also to curb our intake.
Trends Supporting the Link
Did you know for instance that in the United States the average American has increased their consumption of sugar from 26 lbs to more than 142 lbs a year in the last 3 decades? That’s amazing and an eye-opener to just how much of a problem it really is. No doubt an content increase in the foods we consider healthy would contribute to this trend.
The Daily Mail reported that foods with a traditionally healthy appeal now contain twice as much sugar as 30 years ago.
Preceding 1887 cardiovascular disease was almost unheard of, and as a point of interest, only 5lbs of the stuff was being consumed by the average person every year. Instead of a luxury it has now become a necessity.
Now consider the Eskimos. They have a diet abundant in saturated fat but cardiovascular disease was unheard of until they were introduced to a Westernized diet of coke and sugary foods. Their increase in sugar and high blood pressure are surely linked and not due to their fat consumption. That is something for us to consider when we are being told to cut down on our saturated fats.
By the way, they also happen to have one of the highest incidents of osteoporosis in the world and we know now what contributes to that! The buffering system is kicking in to reduce the high acidity, probably due to the excess sugar and fat, to maintain the vital pH balance the body needs to stay alive. That buffering system uses the bone`s calcium to alkalize!
See my page on Calcium Deficiency Symptoms.
How Sugar and High Blood Pressure are connected
Have you heard of the glycemic index? It is an index of foods and how they affect blood-glucose levels. The higher the number given to any food shows the increased rate of glucose levels.
This increase of glucose stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin to lower blood-sugar levels. When insulin is increased it will cause the storing of more fat, hence you will see a quick rise in weight and an increased triglyceride level, both known to help cause cardiovascular disease.
I have listed two examples of foods from the Glycermic Index that have a high count and a lower count, which will alert you to avoid these foods if possible. As you probably know people suffering from diabetes are usually suffering from high blood pressure also.
If you go to the Glycermic Index, click on the database, and you can find out which foods are low in glucose.
The problem your body has in dealing with excess sugar will eventually result in the cells becoming insulin resistant because too much insulin is toxic. If that happens, it leads to other systems in the body malfunctioning.
Insulin helps store magnesium which is needed to relax muscles. When your cells become insulin resistant, the magnesium can’t be stored, muscles constrict, high blood pressure results. It also has a part to play in sodium and water retention, so when too much is in the blood it leads to hypertension.
Another point to consider is how your body absorbs carbohydrates (sugars). Complex carbohydrates are slower to be absorbed than refined carbohydrates so the blood-sugar levels do not rise so quickly, but simple sugars that are not combined with complex food like fruit and vegetables will cross the intestinal tract too quickly and cause a quick spike in the sugar levels. [Ref:A]
Refined carbohydrates however, need minerals and vitamins to metabolize them into the system so they will leach them from your bones and other organs where vital micro-nutrients are stored leaving you mineral deficient.
High blood pressure is common in vitamin and mineral deficiency symptoms.
Minerals such as potassium are not stored and are vital in regulating blood pressure so if you are lacking because you succumb to your sweet tooth, it must have an effect. Eating refined sugars also starts a vicious circle in motion where fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism is obstructed causing more trigycerides and cholesterol and the cycle repeats itself.
A worrying example is when high blood pressure patients or those with diabetes are prescribed with drugs to lower blood sugar. These drugs can present many problems such as hampering the ability of the liver to produce co enzyme Q10, an important enzyme that the body needs to help convert food into energy.
A CoQ10 deficiency has been discovered in 39% of people with hypertension. This also is the case with cholesterol lowering drugs like Statins. So take note all readers who are taking such drugs! It would be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.
Sugar in Drinks
Do Soft Drinks and other sweetened beverages contribute to high blood pressure?
A recent study carried out at Luisiana State University Health Science Center on 810 adults with borderline and stage 1 hypertension proved that it does.
The participants drank 310 ml of sweetened drinks each day and after 18 months that had been reduced to half the amount. Significant blood pressure readings as much as 1.8 mm in systolic pressure and 1.1 mm in diastolic. Dr. Liwei Chen who carried out the study indicated that reduced weight was part of the reason but not all. After accounting for that, statistics were still significant.
So just think for a moment! If we were to reduce just half of the sweetened drinks we consume everyday, how much would our blood pressure drop?
If you have a sweet tooth, start training it to be satisfied with less. The craving is not permanent and will diminish. If you do eat lots of sugary foods in your diet then try eliminating it as much as possible from your diet. Perhaps it will be the end of your high blood pressure!
[Ref:A] High Blood Pressure – Diet Against It – Dr. James Scala
But sugar is just one of the causes of high blood pressure.