study states that people need to pay attention to both sugar and salt
in order to avoid high blood pressure (hypertension). The study
targeted a specific kind of sugar – fructose – and concluded that
consuming more than the average daily intake of fructose (74 grams – or
the amount found in about 2.5 cans of non-diet soda) can increase the
odds of acquiring hypertension by 30 percent (source).
Critics within the medical field have pointed out flaws in the new
fructose study, published in the Journal of the American Society of
Nephrology. However, the study’s results do conform with a study
published last month in the American Heart Association journal
Circulation. That study found that drinking one less sugary drink a day
can have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure.
Considering the fact that the diets of Americans are getting worse
and worse, and that obesity rates are over 25 percent in more than
three-fourths of America, this means that high blood pressure will also
take its toll on the American healthcare system. Hypertension can cause
deterioration of blood vessels and is a leading indicator for the onset
of heart disease (the leading cause of death in the U.S.), as well as
kidney disease and other ailments.
The fructose study focused on foods, other than fruit, that have
high-fructose corn syrup and other added sugars, including soda, fruit
punch, cookies, candy and chocolate. The study spanned four years and
included 4,500 U.S. adults who had not previously had high blood
pressure. Researchers found that consuming 75 grams or more of fructose
per day increased the likelihood of having hypertension above 140/90
(the maximum threshold for normal blood pressure) by 30 percent and
above 160/100 by 77 percent.
The researchers said that if a person consumes fructose, their risk
of attaining high blood pressure exists independent of any other eating
habits including sodium, carbohydrates or overall calorie intake.
High-fructose corn syrup can be found in a wide variety of products
including baking and cooking ingredients, breads, cereals, pastries,
candy bars, condiments, jellies, salad dressings, sauces and snacks.
Because most people do not pay close attention to their consumption of
fructose, they may be unaware of the potential harm they could be
Critics of the study said there was no clear cause-and-effect
relationship between fructose and hypertension. The researchers
themselves admitted that more research is needed to confirm their
findings. The best place to start, they said, is to answer questions
about how fructose actually affects blood pressure: Does fructose make
the body absorb sodium more readily? And does fructose increase levels
of uric acid (known to increase blood pressure in some cases)?