Drinking fewer sugary drinks, one of the main sources of sugar, can help reduce blood pressure.
Consuming more sugar-sweetened beverages had been shown to be associated with a higher risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. But the effect of sugar-sweetened beverages on blood pressure has not been studied earlier.
To investigate this, researchers looked at data from a group of 810 Americans aged between 25 and 80 years with pre-hypertension and stage I hypertension. The participants took part in an 18-month behavioural intervention study with a focus on weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet to prevent and control high blood pressure.
Sugar-sweetened beverages in this research were defined as drinks sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup including regular soft drinks, fruit drinks, lemonade and fruit punch. Diet drinks were excluded. At the beginning of the study, participants drank a third of a litre of a sugary drink each day in just under one serving. At the end of the study they drank half of that daily. The researches measured the blood pressure of the participants twice ??? once at 6 months and then at 18 months.
Lower consumption of sugary drinks was found to be accompanied by lower systolic and diastolic pressures. After additional adjustment for weight change over the same period, reduced intake of sugars was significantly associated with lower blood pressure.
The above findings show that reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar consumption can prove to be an important dietary strategy to lower blood pressure and further reduce other blood pressure-related diseases.
American Heart Association journal Circulation,