Sugary Drinks Linked to Higher Blood Pressure

Increases more pronounced among those who consume high levels of both sugar and salt

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with higher blood pressure (BP) levels in adults, especially among those who consume more sodium, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in Hypertension.

Ian J. Brown, Ph.D., of Imperial College London, and colleagues investigated the link between BP and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, sugars, and diet drinks in the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure. A total of 2,696 participants, aged 40 to 59, in the United States and the United Kingdom reported their diet for four days; performed two 24-hour urine collections and eight BP readings; and completed surveys on lifestyle, medical, and social factors.

The researchers found a direct correlation between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and BP. Every extra sugar-sweetened drink per day led to a 1.6 mm Hg increase in systolic BP and a 0.8 mm Hg increase in diastolic BP. The increases were smaller, but still statistically significant, after adjusting for height and weight. There was no significant link between consumption of diet drinks and BP. Fructose and glucose intake was also directly linked with higher BP. Particularly among people who consumed more salt, sugar intake was associated with even higher BP.

"These findings, plus adverse nutrient intakes among sugar-sweetened beverage consumers, and greater sugar-BP differences for persons with higher sodium excretion, lend support to recommendations that intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, sugars, and salt be substantially reduced," the authors write.

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