Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks are associated with higher blood pressure levels in adults, researchers report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), for every extra sugar-sweetened beverage drunk per day participants on average had significantly higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure higher by 0.8 mm Hg. This remained statistically significant even after adjusting for differences in body mass, researchers said.
Researchers found higher blood pressure levels in individuals who consumed more glucose and fructose, both sweeteners that are found in high-fructose corn syrup, the most common sugar sweetener used by the beverage industry. Higher blood pressure was more pronounced in people who consumed high levels of both sugar and sodium. They found no consistent association between diet soda intake and blood pressure levels. Those who drank diet soda had higher mean BMI than those who did not and lower levels of physical activity.
"This points to another possible intervention to lower blood pressure," said Paul Elliott, Ph.D., 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."