Sugary drinks associated with hypertension, study finds

DALLAS — A new study published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association established a link between high blood pressure and the consumption of such beverages as soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks.

In the "International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure," researchers analyzed consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, sugars and diet beverages in 2,696 participants, ages 40 to 59 years, in eight areas of the United States and two areas of the United Kingdom. What they found was that for every extra sugar-sweetened beverage consumed per day, participants on average had significantly higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure higher by 0.8 mm Hg.

What's more, the consumption of sugar-laden beverages added an average of 397 calories per day to the participants' daily caloric intake.

"This points to another possible intervention to lower blood pressure," said Paul Elliott, senior author and professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London. "These findings lend support for recommendations to reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as added sugars and sodium in an effort to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health."

Study authors did note, however, that limitations were that it was cross-sectional and diet was self-reported.

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