While the relationship between salt and hypertension is well known, most people don’t know that added sugar also plays a role in hypertension. The primary cause is insulin resistance and nitric oxide, which can lead to vasoconstriction and increased blood pressure.
The recommended limit for added sugar is it should not make up more than 10% of total daily calories. For example, a person on a 2000-calorie diet should get no more than 200 calories from added sugar which is 50g or about 12 teaspoons.
The amount of added sugar in a product is listed on the nutrition label, so check it out before making your decision. Most added sugar is found in desserts, flavored beverages, and sweet snacks, but watch out for foods with hidden added sugar. Cereals, condiments, flavored yogurt, granola bars, instant-flavored oatmeal, and pasta sauce also can contain added sugars.
To reduce your added sugar intake, follow these tips:
- Read the nutrition label for “added sugars” before choosing an item
- Limit the use of syrup and white and brown sugar
- Choose fresh, unsweetened frozen or fruit canned in 100% juice
- Swap out soda for unsweetened tea, sparkling water, or water infused with fruit
- Watch out for spreads like jelly that include added sugar. Top your peanut butter sandwich with sliced strawberries instead
- Compare added sugars between yogurts and non-dairy milk beverages, as they can vary significantly in added sugar content