Sweetener and hypertension link?

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Sweetener linked to high blood pressure

A sugary ingredient in processed foods may be linked to high blood pressure, new research suggests.

High fructose corn syrup (a combination of fructose and glucose) is used to sweeten many types of foods and drinks such as bakery products, soft drinks and sweets.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center found that people who ate or drank more than 74g of fructose each day increased their risk of developing high blood pressure.

Fructose naturally occurs in fruit but is not thought to be harmful due to its high content of antioxidants and potassium.

The researchers calculated high fructose corn syrup intake using a dietary questionnaire among 4,500 adults with no history of high blood pressure. They were asked to rate their consumption of foods such as soft drinks, bakery products and confectionery.

In their paper presented at the American Society of Nephrology Meeting on 29 October, the authors said: “Specifically, a diet of more than 74 grams per day of fructose led to a 28%, 36% and 87% higher risk for blood pressure levels of 135/85, 140/90 and 160/100mmHg, respectively. (Healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80mmHg).

"These results indicate that high fructose intake in the form of added sugars is significantly and independently associated with higher blood pressure levels in the US adult population with no previous history of hypertension."

They added that further work was needed to see if lowering fructose consumption could normalise blood pressure.

Americans today consume 30 per cent more added fructose than they did 20 years ago and up to four times more than they did 100 years ago, said the researchers.

Sue Massey, Deputy Executive Director of the Blood Pressure Association says: “The paper, which looked at data from America, appears to have found a link between high blood pressure and added fructose. However, the cause of this link is not clear and we do not know if reducing fructose in your diet could lower your blood pressure.

“However, this further highlights the link between an unhealthy diet and high blood pressure. Of course, added sugar isn’t the only culprit. That is why we believe the best way to prevent high blood pressure is to try to indulge your sweet tooth only occasionally and focus on having an overall balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables.”

The Blood Pressure Association says the main risk factors for high blood pressure are:
*consuming too much salt or alcohol
*not eating enough fruit and vegetables
*being overweight
*not being physically active
*a family history of high blood pressure or heart problems.

Source: [TH-FC037] Increased Fructose Intake Is Independently Associated with Elevated Blood Pressure. Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2006) Diana I. Jalal, Gerard Smits, Richard Johnson, Michel Chonchol Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO

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