June 26, 2012 at 11:36 am
You’ve probably already heard that too much sodium can affect the reading your doctor gets after strapping a cuff around your upper arm. But surprisingly, sugary beverages and foods may send your blood pressure soaring, too, according to recent research. Consuming the amount of sugar you’d find in 2.5 sodas every day is associated with a 77 percent increase in likelihood of having high blood pressure, a contributing factor in heart disease and stroke. The reasons why are still being determined. But fructose, a type of sugar debated as a potential problem-maker, may increase sodium absorption and impair blood flow.
Here’s what you need to know to fix the situation: Americans eat 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day—and not just from sodas. Much of the sweet stuff comes hidden in foods you wouldn’t expect, says registered dietitian Cassie Dimmick. Cut back on these five foods:
- Fat-free salad dressing: (1-2 teaspoons of sugar)
- Instant Oatmeal: (2-3 teaspoons of sugar)
- Nutrition/Protein bars: (3 teaspoons of sugar)
- Fat-free yogurt: (3-4 teaspoons of sugar)
- Barbecue Sauce: (3-4 teaspoons of sugar)
Also, check out our article on hidden health triggers featured in our August issue, “How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health.”
How much sugar is in your favorite food? Post a comment and tell us!
Jessica Girdwain is a health writer and contributes to Family Circle.