Are You Drowning in Sugar and Salt?

It’s very likely that at your last medical appointment, your doctor gave you a warning about your blood pressure or blood sugar levels creeping higher, if you’re not already on medication to control one or both of them. Almost 75 percent of U.S. adults 60 and older have high blood pressure. About 29 percent 65 and older have type 2 diabetes; almost 50 percent have prediabetes.

What your doctor also may have shared with you is that reducing your intake of sodium and added sugars can help improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, respectively. These dietary changes also benefit your weight and reduce your risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, dementia, stroke, kidney trouble, and erectile dysfunction.

“Americans are consuming far more processed foods than ever,” says Cary Kreutzer, RDN, a professor of gerontology at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. “Ultraprocessed foods are being developed that have ‘hedonic’—highly pleasurable—qualities, and salt and sugar play a significant role in promoting the hedonic properties in foods.” This makes it easier to overconsume calories and promotes weight gain, which further exacerbates insulin resistance, inflammation, and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Excerpted from Consumer Reports

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