A debate has started in the science community about claims that sugar puts a person at a higher risk of increased blood pressure and heart diseases in comparison to salt.

Researchers suggest that patients suffering from high blood pressure and heart diseases should cut down on sugar as getting benefits after reducing salt levels is debatable.  However, some researchers believe that high blood pressure and heart disease patients should reduce the level of both sugar and salt to decrease the risk of these medical conditions.

A team of researchers from Montefiore Medical center and St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute focused on added sugar intake particularly from fructose, which is found as a sweetener in many processed food products and beverages.

However, Francesco Cappuccio, a cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology professor at the University of Warwick suggests that both sugar and salt levels in the body should be maintained to avoid high blood pressure and heart diseases.

"Both should be targeted at population level for an effective approach to cardiovascular prevention. The shift in attention from salt to sugar is scientifically unnecessary and unsupported," says Cappuccio.

Professor Tom Saunders from King's College London suggests that cutting down on salt intake lowers blood pressure; however, reducing added sugar for lowering the blood pressure is vague.

Saunders added that food producers in the UK have reduced the salt contents from many food products, which has resulted in the fall of blood pressure for many people in the UK.

The latest study conducted by Dr James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at the Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute and Dr Sean C Lucan, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The scientists suggest that daily consumption of over 74 grams of corn syrup rich in fructose elevates high blood pressure risk by 30 percent.

The study also highlights that teens in the U.S. and in the UK consume 16 times the recommended daily amount of sugar.

The scientists also point out that they have evidence that sugar particularly from fructose contributes towards the overall risks that increases cardiovascular diseases. The scientists suggest that people should limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as the study has found that these drinks contribute to thousands of deaths each year.

The study has been published in the journal Open Heart.

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