In a study titled “Increased Fructose Associates with Elevated Blood Pressure”, Dr. Jalal from the University of Colorado states there is a relationship between high fructose intake and increased blood pressure. The study investigated the fructose and blood pressure connection in 4,528 adults without a history of hypertension. The results suggest an increasing risk of high blood pressure with greater fructose consumption, “It led to a 26, 30, and 77 percent higher risk for BP cutoffs of ≥135/85, ≥140/90, and ≥160/100.” In other words, increased consumption of fructose led to a 77% greater risk of blood pressure more than or equal to 160/100, which is considered unhealthy.
The American Heart Associate defines healthy blood pressure as less than 120/80. High blood pressure is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
The Corn Refiners Association of American took issue with the study saying it was flawed, “…the authors miscalculated the number of beverages represented by 74+ grams of fructose/day.” However, if you look at their website, they say nearly every study showing unhealthy effects of fructose corn sweetener is flawed:
• May 14, 2010 — Misleading Study on Furans and High Fructose Corn Syrup
• March 22, 2010 — Gross Errors in Princeton Animal Study on Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup
• March 19, 2010 — Flaws in Duke University Statement About High Fructose Corn Syrup
• August 27, 2009 — Study on HMF and High Fructose Corn Syrup Flawed
Also, the problem is not the number of beverages consumed — it is the amount of fructose consumed daily, which in this case is high fructose corn syrup, a manmade sugar (not sugar consumed when eating fruits). Beverage size is not that relevant, because each beverage container can have different amounts of high fructose corn syrup.
For this study, a median of 74 grams of sugar per day means some people in the study were ingesting quite a bit more than that. For example, if a person had three 12 ounce Cokes a day, that would be 126 grams, as each can of Coke (non-diet) has 42 grams of sugar, in the form of high fructose corn syrup. A 12 ounce Mountain Dew could have as many as 47 grams. A SoBe Energy Citrus could have 76 grams.
Beverage container sizes apparently have been increasing. In the 1950s 6.5 ounce bottles were sold, now sizes such as 12, 16 and 20 ounces are available. The purpose of increasing the container size is to sell more products, thus increasing profits. One obvious problem is the ever increasing amounts of high fructose corn syrup as the sizes become larger. The good news about the research for consumers is that reducing the intake of high fructose corn syrup is easy, compared with some other dietary and lifestyle changes, such as beginning an exercise regime if you have not been exercising at all. WikiHow has some tips on how to reduce high fructose corn sweetener in your diet, such as reading all food labels, and avoiding bottled and canned beverages.
Reducing sugary beverage consumption or eliminating it will also save money.
Image Credit: Uwe Herman