For years, doctors have tagged excess sodium as a major high blood pressure culprit, but a recent meta-analysis suggests that a different white crystal may be to blame as well.

According to a review published in Open Heart—a respected cardiology journal—added sugars may cause hypertension just as much as (if not more than) salt. Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is strongly associated with heart disease. 

The study authors summarized that added sugars (such as high-fructose corn syrup) in processed foods not only increase metabolic markers like inflammation, heart rate, and insulin resistance, but also raise blood pressure almost instantly. In one of the studies they cited, just one 24-ounce soft drink spiked blood pressure by 15/9 mm Hg.

The fix: Cut back on all processed foods, which often contain both sodium and added sugars. 

 

What are some ways you try to cut back on sodium and added sugars in your diet?