Sugar Is The Real Dietary Villain

Morgan Braxton

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Article Summary

Sugar, Not Salt, Is The Real Dietary Villain is an article from Discover Magazine written by Jennifer Abbasi (July 23, 2015) about how sugar may be worse for health than salt. The article opens by stating that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the leading risk factor for heart disease; the most prevalent cause of death in Americans today. Since the late 70’s the general public has been taught by doctors, media, and government that in order to lower [control] blood pressure people should reduce their daily salt intake. Hillel Cohen, a medical journal editor and professor, feels differently on the subject. Cohen highlights that even if salt is the highest risk factor, it is still only one element and some people are not salt sensitive so their hypertension remains unaffected by decreasing salt. Another cardiovascular research scientist, named James DiNicolantonio, is the one who points out that sugar presents a higher danger because it is not a dietary necessity, is overwhelming in processed foods (especially in beverages), is closely linked to being overweight (which also a cause of hypertension), and other valid arguments. After reading the article, many consumers may think twice before reaching for the sugar shaker.

Article Critique

This article serves as an eye opener for many readers and consumers that are blind to their excess consumption of salt/sugar, but also may lead to new research on hypertension risk factors. Although the author of the article does not hold any merit in the medical world, the sources she chose to include are credible. The first source was Hillel Cohen, who is the co-executive editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and a clinical epidemiology and population health professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Sugar, Not Salt, Is The Real Dietary Villain, 2015). The second source was James DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Missouri and associate editor at the journal Open Heart (Sugar, Not Salt, Is The Real Dietary Villain, 2015). DiNicolantonio also recently co-published an article on how blood pressure and cardiovascular disease can be affected by salt and sugar [mainly]. This piece was also published by a valid source, Discover Magazine. The magazine has been publishing since 1980 and includes in every news on environmental issues, developments in science, and breakthroughs in health/medicine. To further increase the credibility of the article facts that were not from human sources came from USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, The American Heart Association, and The Institute of Medicine. The only problem I saw with the article was its lack of citations at the end, otherwise it proved to be a plausible argument. The author does a great job concluding the article in a way that leaves the reader sure of her main point, “instead of obsessing over the saltshaker, it’s possible we’d improve our health more by cutting back on sweetened foods” (Sugar, Not Salt, Is The Real Dietary Villain, 2015).


Abbasi, J. (2015, July 23). Sugar, Not Salt, Is The Real Dietary Villain. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://discovermagazine.com/2015/sept/8-white-crystal