Sugar-Sweetened Drinks May Raise Your Blood Pressure

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by Alex A. Kecskes

If you have high blood pressure or borderline high blood pressure, you might want to lighten up on the sugared drinks.

According to the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), every extra sugar-sweetened beverage you down, raises your systolic BP an average of 1.6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic BP by 0.8 mm Hg—regardless of your body mass. Doctors have repeatedly warned us to maintain a healthy BP.

Researchers analyzed consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, sugars and diet beverages in nearly 2,700 participants, aged 40 to 59. The participants were spread across the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Participants reported what they ate and drank for four days and had their blood pressure taken eight times.

The study revealed that BP levels rose after individuals consumed more glucose and fructose. These sweeteners are found in high-fructose corn syrup, the most common sugar sweetener used by the beverage industry. Sugar intake--glucose, fructose and sucrose--was highest in those consuming more than one sugar-sweetened beverage daily. They also found that individuals consuming more than one serving per day of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed more calories than those who didn't. Those abstaining from sugar-sweetened beverages had a lower average body mass index (BMI) than those who consumed more than sugared drink per day.

Researchers believe that sugar drinkers raise the level of uric acid in their blood, which can lower the nitric oxide required to keep the blood vessels dilated. Sugar consumption also has been linked to enhanced sympathetic nervous system activity and sodium retention.

Since this is merely a population study, more research is needed. Reducing your intake of sweetened drinks may not reduce your blood pressure. For advice on blood pressure and other medical conditions, see your doctor.

For an additional perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.


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