High blood pressure: The seemingly healthy food to ‘avoid’ – it can lead to hypertension

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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Your diet can play a huge role in various conditions. A healthy regime can cut your risk of health problems while certain foods can boost your chances of the culprits. Blood Pressure UK advises to “avoid” breakfast cereals with added sugars when trying to keep your blood pressure levels within the healthy range.

Although starting your day with a quick fix in the form of cereals represents a popular go-to for many, your body might not appreciate this choice.

“Avoid breakfast cereals with added sugars, or adding extra sugar on top,” the charity’s advice reads.

It explains that the added sugars in the favourite breakfast option can lead to high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure UK details that it all comes down to weight gain.

The charity said: “Foods with added sugar tend to be high in calories but often provide very little or no nutritional value. 

“The extra energy can make you gain weight which can raise your blood pressure. It can also lead to diabetes. 

“Raised blood pressure and diabetes both raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if you have both at the same time.”

Express.co.uk spoke to Mark Gilbert, Commercial Nutritionist at The1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, who explained this advice is also backed by research.

Mr Gilbert said: “According to a 2014 review of research, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that considered over 11,000 studies, sugar is a significant cause of high blood pressure. 

“So the last thing anyone needs is to start their day with a high-sugar cereal. 

“Indeed, even low-sugar cereals can boost blood sugar because they are usually composed primarily of refined carbohydrates and most people consume two to four times the recommended serving size.”

If you don’t want to give your breakfast up, Blood Pressure UK recommends opting for fruits instead of cereal.

“Add some fresh or frozen berries to naturally sweeten your breakfast and count towards your five-a-day,” it advises.

However, cereals with added sugars aren’t the only sources of free sugars.

From foods to drinks and honey to syrups, these sugars can be added to plenty of products.

According to Blood Pressure UK, the main sources of free sugars in our diets are:

  • Table sugar
  • Jams and preserves
  • Confectionery (sweets and chocolate)
  • Fruit juice and soft drinks
  • Biscuits, buns and cakes.

All of this free sugar could make you gain weight and consequently boost your blood pressure.

The Government recommends that only five percent of your daily energy intake comes from free sugars, which is the equivalent of 30 grams.

The charity advises cutting down on sugar as it “can make a big difference”.

Mr Gilbert added: “If you have challenged your body with regular servings of cereal over the years, you may want to consider trying The 1:1 Diet, because in two of our large diabetes trials, dieters were able to stop taking their high-blood-pressure medication at the outset of starting our diet because it has been clearly shown that blood pressure comes down significantly when clients start using our plan.

“Having said this, this is not medical advice and any adjustment of any medication must be discussed with your doctor.”

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