Diet-NutritionE. DIETARYHigh Blood Pressure

Fructose and the risk of high blood pressure

Epidemiologic studies have inconsistently linked them.

Now, researchers from the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center report an association using NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data.

First, the details.

  • This was a cross-sectional analysis of data collected from 4528 adults without a history of high blood pressure.
    • Cross-sectional analysis involves observation of all of a population, or a representative subset, at a defined time (in this case 2003 to 2006).

And, the results.

  • Median fructose intake was 74 grams/day (in other words as many took more as took less of this amount).
    • 74 grams/day corresponds to 2.5 sugary soft drinks each day.
  • After correcting for confounding factors this amount was significantly associated with higher odds of elevated blood pressure
    • Confounding factors included demographics; comorbidities; physical activity; total caloric intake; and dietary confounders such as total carbohydrate, alcohol, salt, and vitamin C intake.
  • There was a 26%, 30%, and 77% higher risk for a blood pressure higher than 134/84, 139/89, and 159/99 mmHg, respectively.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “These results suggest that high fructose intake, in the form of added sugar, independently associates with higher blood pressure levels among US adults without a history of hypertension.”

The good news, published earlier this year, is that “reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage and sugars was significantly associated with reduced blood pressure.”

In this study of 810 adults over 18 months, “A reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages of 1 serving per day was associated with about a 2-mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and 1-mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months.”

For people with borderline hypertension, it’s a cheap and painless dietary strategy to lower blood pressure.

Substitute a bottle of water for that glass of Coke or Pepsi.

Or, if you’re hooked on energy drinks, has reviewed more than 200 products in this category, including their sugar content.

7/7/10 14:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.