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Sugary Drinks Linked to Higher Blood Pressure

If you’re someone who indulges in the regular, or even occasional, soda or sugary fruit drink you’ll want to read this. While soda has already been linked to bone loss and is incredibly high in sugar, new research suggests that sugary drinks may also be associated with higher blood pressure levels in adults.

According to research in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, scientists found that for every extra sugar-sweetened beverage consumed in a day,  study participants on average had significantly higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure by 0.8 mm Hg. This rise in blood pressure remained statistically significant even after adjusting for differences in body mass, researchers said. They also found that those drinking more than one serving per day consumed more calories than those who didn’t — an average of more than 397 calories per day.

The type of sugar in the drink was measured, too. Researchers found higher blood pressure levels in those who consumed more glucose and fructose, both of which are sweeteners that are found in high-fructose corn syrup, the most common and controversial sugar sweetener used by the food industry today.

Also notable was that higher blood pressure was more pronounced in study subjects who consumed high levels of both sugar and sodium. And although there was no strong connection between diet soda intake and blood pressure levels, researchers found that those who drank diet soda had higher average BMIs than those who did not. Those who drank diet soda also had lower levels of physical activity.

Research officials say that this new information can be used to help lower American’s blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. In the study they urge public health professionals to recommend the reduction of the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as added sugars and sodium. Currently, The American Heart Association recommends no more than half of your discretionary calories come from added sugars, which for most American women is no more than 100 calories per day and for most American men no more than 150 calories per day.

Just another reason to put down the sugary drinks!

March 2nd, 2011

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