US scientists have said that a great focus should be placed on cutting sugar intake and suggested that the benefits of lowering salt are “debatable”, according to BBC News.
However, other researchers have struck back, saying that the claims are “disingenuous” and “scientifically unnecessary”, maintaining that both sugar and salt intake must be cut.
The American researchers came to the conclusion that sugar – particularly fructose – could play a stronger role in high blood pressure and other cardiac conditions than salt and they said lowering salt too much may do more harm than good.
They also suggested that attempts to reduce salt in processed food could drive people to eat more.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio, University of Warwick, sits in the camp calling for both salt and sugar reductions. He said: “The emphasis on reducing sugar and not salt is disingenuous. “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.”
Professor Tom Saunders, King’s College London, said: “Cutting salt intake and losing weight will lower blood pressure, but the evidence for a direct effect of added sugar is tenuous.
“Salt intake has fallen in the UK as manufacturers have reduced the amount of salt added to food. This has also been accompanied by a fall in blood pressure.
“Added sugar intake is derived mainly from sugar-sweetened beverages, confectionery, cereal, and products such as cakes and biscuits.
“The easiest way to reduce added sugar intake is to limit sugar-sweetened beverage and confectionery consumption.”