High Fructose Intake Increases Risk of High Blood Pressure
Posted Sep 08 2010 10:12pm
Diets which are high in fructose increase the risk of persons developing hypertension (high blood pressure). This data was first presented at the American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting (42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego, California) and has been subsequently publish online in last weeks. These findings point to a need for reductions in intake of foods and beverages that have the additive high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The view is that this may well help prevent the onset of hypertension in many persons.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweeter form of corn syrup and in terms of nutritional intake is a newer food. Just as in the case of basic corn syrup, HFCS is made from corn by using enzymes to alter it.
Some researchers have also reported that HFCS intake is linked to obesity. The past two centuries have seen a major rise in obesity rates. These rises parallel the increased consumption of fructose in the diet. This has been particularly true over the past two decades with the major increased use of HFCS. Americans now consume 30% more fructose than they did 20 years ago. They consume four times as much fructose as was the case 100 years ago when obesity rates were below 5%. Historically, these facts have coincided with the rise in occurrence of hypertension. Previous studies, while suggestive, were inconsitent in linking excess fructose in the diet to high blood pressure development.
Patel and associates report in the recent online early publication in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology their findings. They note, "the recent increase in fructose consumption in industrialized nations mirrors the rise in the prevalence of hypertension, but epidemiologic studies have inconsistently linked these observations. We investigated whether increased fructose intake from added sugars associates with an increased risk for higher BP levels in US adults without a history of hypertension. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using the data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003 to 2006) involving 4528 adults without a history of hypertension. Median fructose intake was 74 g/d, corresponding to 2.5 sugary soft drinks each day. After adjustment for demographics; comorbidities; physical activity; total kilocalorie intake; and dietary confounders such as total carbohydrate, alcohol, salt, and vitamin C intake, an increased fructose intake of ≥74 g/d independently and significantly associated with higher odds of elevated BP levels: It led to a 26, 30, and 77% higher risk for BP cutoffs of ≥135/85, ≥140/90, and ≥160/100 mmHg, respectively. These results suggest that high fructose intake, in the form of added sugar, independently associates with higher BP levels among US adults without a history of hypertension."
This article supports the widespread belief that HFCS is not a healthy alternative to natural cane sugar in beverages or foods. Perhaps the most alarming finding is that the simple equivalent of 2.5 sugary soft drinks per day (which usually contain HFCS) is the all that is required to push one over the edge as it were in terms of a significant increase in risk of developing high blood pressure. It would behoove us all to cut our intake of sugar overall. Most particularly, we should attempt to limit our intake of HFCS as much as possible. To this end, many soft drink manufacturers are offering alternatives which are sweetened with cane sugar as opposed to HFCS. Diet and dietary intake it seems we learn more and more each day, play a crucial role in our health and wellness, as well as our development of chronic disease.