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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 542-551

The twin white herrings: Salt and sugar

1 Department of Food and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Endocrinology, Venkateshwar Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and Bharti Research Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Karnal, Haryana, India
5 Department of Endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Kalra
Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and Bharti Research Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Karnal - 132 001, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_117_18

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India has the dubious distinction of being a hotspot for both diabetes and hypertension. Increased salt and sugar consumption is believed to fuel these two epidemics. This review is an in-depth analysis of current medical literature on salt and sugar being the two white troublemakers of modern society. The PubMed, Medline, and Embase search for articles published in January 2018, using the terms “salt” [MeSH Terms] OR “sodium chloride” [All Fields] OR “sugar” [All Fields]. India is world's highest consumer of sugar with one of the highest salt consumption per day. Increased salt intake is associated with increased risk of hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy and fi brosis, cardiovascular events, renal stones, proteinuria, and renal failure. Increased sugar intake is directly linked to increased risk of obesity, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome. Also, increased sugar intake may be indirectly related to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Both salt and sugar intake is directly linked to increased systemic and hypothalamic infl ammation, endothelial dysfunction, microangiopathy, cardiovascular remodelling, cancers, and death. High fructose corn is especially damaging. There is no safe limit of sugar consumption, as the human body can produce its own glucose. Being nature's gift to mankind, there is no harm in moderate consumption of salt and sugar, however, modest reduction in the consumption of both can substantially reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases. Public health interventions to facilitate this behavioural change must be instituted and encouraged.

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