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Sweet Drinks & Blood Pressure

All too often, warm summer days include refreshments that may cool you down, but also fatten you up–or worse. While the occasional sugar-laced drink won’t kill you, minimizing your intake of sweetened beverages–especially sodas–will not only improve your own health and fitness, but will also set an important example for your family.

Did you know that along with promoting childhood obesity, sugary drinks may also increase heart disease risk factors, even in teenagers? According to the American Heart Association journal Hypertension,1 study participants consuming the most sodas and other beverages sweetened with glucose and fructose showed increased blood pressure levels. One possible explanation for the elevated blood pressure is that fructose may boost the level of uric acid in the blood, which in turn reduces the nitric oxide required to keep the blood vessels dilated.

Another study referred to fructose as a clear health hazard, citing the dangers of fructose–laden sodas and fruit drinks, such as increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gout, and metabolic syndrome. High fructose corn syrup appears to be largely responsible for the metabolic risks associated with sweetened drinks, including high production of lipids and increased blood pressure.2

In light of this evidence, it’s really starting to appear that sodas and other sweetened drinks are counterproductive to a fit, healthy lifestyle. What do you think?

1 Hypertension. 2011 Apr;57(4):695-701. Epub 2011 Feb 28
2 J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 Jul 1;4(4):1003-7

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