Drinking sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit drinks appears to be associated with a greater risk for high blood pressure among adults, a new study suggests.
Dr. Sahil Parikh, Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and cardiologist at the Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said the findings “fall along the lines of the kind of common sense your mother would offer.”
“We have long known that sugary drinks are bad for you, because they are a lot of empty calories,” he said. “But what makes this study important is that it suggests that beyond just making you fatter these drinks also prompt hypertension, which can increase the incidence of heart attack and stroke.”
“Now we will need to have future studies to understand how this works,” Parikh added, “because even though this data shows a pretty clear association between sugary drinks and high blood pressure, it doesn’t definitively suggest a mechanistic link.”
“Having said that, as a cardiologist my concern is how do we minimize our risk factors for cardiovascular events,” he continued. “And we know the way to do that is to avoid tobacco use and avoid obesity. So to the extent that one can control calorie intake, there really isn’t a downside to eliminating sugar drinks. They’re empty calories of limited value. So why not do that?”
In response to the latest findings, the American Beverage Association issued a statement Monday saying that while high blood pressure is “a serious health concern,” the current study “does not and cannot establish that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages in any way causes hypertension.”
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