March 7, 2011

Sugar-sweetened Drinks and Higher Blood Pressure

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Researchers for Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association report that the common sweeteners found in fruit drinks, soda, and other sugar-sweetened beverages, have been linked to higher blood pressure levels in adults.

In the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), researchers found individuals who consumed fructose and glucose frequently had higher blood pressure, especially in those who consumed higher levels of sodium and sugar. However, there was no consistent link found between high blood pressure and diet soda intake.

INTERMAP researchers conducted a study in eight areas of the United States, and two areas of the United Kingdom measuring health concerns associated with sugar-sweetened drinks. This study analyzed the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in 2,696 participants ranging from 40 "“ 59 years old. Participants underwent two urine analyses, eight blood pressure readings, and answered an in-depth questionnaire regarding medical, lifestyle, and social factors.

The study revealed that participants who consumed more than one serving of sugar-sweetened drinks per day had an average intake of 397 more calories than those who did not consume sugar-sweetened drinks. The study also revealed that participants who consumed non-sugary beverages had a lower average body mass index (BMI) than those who did.

According to Dr. Ian Brown, PhD, a research associate at Imperial College London, "people who drink a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages appear to have less healthy diets. They are consuming empty calories without the nutritional benefits of real food."

"One possible mechanism for sugar-sweetened beverages and fructose increasing blood pressure levels is a resultant in the level of uric acid in the blood that may in turn lower the nitric oxide required to keep the blood vessels dilated."

Dr. Brown also notes that "This is a population study. It's one piece of the jigsaw puzzles that needs to be completed. In the meantime, people who want to drink sugar-sweetened beverages should do so only in moderation."

Added sugars within the daily diet should not exceed half of discretionary caloric (remaining calories in energy allowance) intake. According to the American Heart Association, the discretionary caloric allowance for American women is no more than 100 calories, and 150 calories for American men.

SOURCE: Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, February 28, 2011