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Salt or Fructose: Which is Worse for Your Diet?

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However, for every gram of excess sodium chloride that your body has to neutralize, it uses up 23 grams of cellular water. Hence, eating too much common processed salt will cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, which may contribute to:

  • Unsightly cellulite
  • Rheumatism, arthritis and gout
  • Kidney and gall bladder stones
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Fructose and High Blood Pressure

That said, hypertension is actually promoted more by excess fructose than excess salt. So while I certainly agree you should not consume large quantities of refined processed salt, just switching to low-sodium processed foods is not going to do much to improve your health.

The connecting link between fructose consumption and hypertension lies in the uric acid produced. Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism, and increased uric acid levels drive up your blood pressure.

The amounts of salt Americans consume pales in comparison to the amount of fructose eaten on a daily basis, and I’m convinced that it’s the sugar/fructose consumption that is the major driving force behind our skyrocketing hypertension rates, not excess salt. For more information about this, see investigative journalist Gary Taubes’ article, The (Political) Science of Salt.

In it he writes:

“While the government has been denouncing salt as a health hazard for decades, no amount of scientific effort has been able to dispense with the suspicions that it is not. Indeed, the controversy over the benefits, if any, of salt reduction now constitutes one of the longest running, most vitriolic, and surreal disputes in all of medicine….

[T]he data supporting universal salt reduction have never been compelling, nor has it ever been demonstrated that such a program would not have unforeseen negative side effects. This was the verdict, for instance, of a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

University of Copenhagen researchers analyzed 114 randomized trials of sodium reduction, concluding that… a “measurable” benefit in individuals with normal blood pressure (normotensives) of even a single millimeter of mercury could only be achieved with an “extreme” reduction in salt intake. “You can say without any shadow of a doubt,” says Drummond Rennie, a JAMA editor and a physiologist at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, “that the [NHLBI] has made a commitment to salt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts.”

After decades of intensive research, the apparent benefits of avoiding salt have only diminished. This suggests either that the true benefit has now been revealed and is indeed small, or that it is nonexistent, and researchers believing they have detected such benefits have been deluded by the confounding influences of other variables…”

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

94 comments

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6:11PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Hmmmm.

12:45PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thanks.

1:09AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Um, this diet promotes eating fresh fruit, veggies, lean meats, etc... right? Fructose is the natural sugar that occurs in fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc... So fruit helps you lose weight, but the sugars that occur naturally in them make you fat? That makes no sense to me.

I avoid stuff like high fructose corn syrup, and unnatural flavorings. I use sea salt minimally, and the breads I eat are whole grain, and are also low in brown sugar.

The only useful information that I found was to use the Himalayan rock salt, and if I can at all find it at a reasonable price, I will use it.

Anyway, we're all going to die of something, so why keep pushing ridiculous ideas? Each person is different. We must start by learning how to eat right. When we do, then we can start to tweak it by eating less. It all boils down to balance.

1:19PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

interesting, thanks

5:59AM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

Don't know anything about Dr. Mercola, and "don'y know much about Biolog"y. No idea what he sells but my BP is fine with 0 high fruc. Was 160/ 115, now it is 90/60 so my dr. took me off BP meds. I still eat salt but will look for the better non processed salt. My dentist showed me a soda jar with a level of white sugar that equaled the amount of the fructose in the drink. It was 3/4 full of white sugar. Kids drink this stuff by the gallons. If it was good for you, moderation should clearly call for less soda and other fruc or even sugar products but I think the high fruc is not good for me, at least. BTW, has everyone had a glass of coca cola from Mexico, where they use real sugar? I have, and it is good. No, I don't sell coke or any other foodstuff

9:25AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Good information, thanks for posting.

1:47PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

interesting, thanks!

10:25AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Very interesting.

4:23PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

thanks for this info....

3:55PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

In this particular article, Dr. Mercola did NOT promote any of his products directly. I agree though, if you were to follow all of his advice, statements, opinions, and product promotion, you would soon throw up your arms in frustration.
However, speaking about today's topic, salt: I am a diabetic with kidney failure and have to be very vigilant about my diet. I have been using Himalayan Rock Salt for years now, and the sodium levels on my quarterly blood tests are always within acceptable range. Keeping potassium levels under control is a lot more difficult!

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