A recent study by Open Heart shines a light on what many Low-Carb practitioners and researchers already know: sugar is the culprit, not salt. Unfortunately, our health experts, especially those who are responsible for the U.S. nutrition guidelines, continue to recommend lowering salt levels. It is refreshing and informative to read in a medical journal that added sugars is the more likely cause of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure. However, salt restriction, not sugar restriction is the standard recommended for people with high blood pressure.
One of the major sources of salt (sodium) in the American diet is processed foods. Rarely discussed is that these same processed foods contain any number of added sugars and, in addition, high fructose corn syrup (How Sugar Works) . Eating foods with added sugars, especially for those who are overweight or suffer from obesity, causes an unhealthy overproduction of insulin. High levels of insulin in the blood over many months leads to a number of unhealthy outcomes, including high blood pressure. The mechanism at work is that consumption of foods with added sugars causes the body to retain more sodium, which induces the retention of water to dilute the sodium. This causes higher blood volume and thus higher blood pressure.
One major advantage of a Low-Carb diet (or lifestyle) is that in the first few days high insulin levels begin to normalize thus causing the loss of excess sodium and water. In fact, on a Low-Carb diet one needs to use salt.
If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or are overweight, a carb restriction will address all of these issues. A Low-Carb diet can be so effective that in most instances it will become necessary to discontinue diuretic medications. However, any reduction of diuretic medications must be done under the supervision of a medical practitioner.