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Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Date:9/24/2009

Tests in mice and men link sugar to hypertension and say time of day may matter, too

THURSDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- America's sweet tooth may be contributing to the ever-increasing number of people with high blood pressure.

Two new studies link fructose, the kind of sugar in soft drinks and many sweetened foods, to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

"It raises the possibility that fructose may have a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension," said Dr. Richard J. Johnson, professor and head of the division of renal diseases and hypertension at the University of Colorado and a co-author of one of the studies. Both were scheduled to be presented this week at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago on blood pressure research.

"It shows that if you ingest a certain amount of fructose, you can raise blood pressure" to the level of hypertension, Johnson said.

Fructose makes up about half of ordinary table sugar; the other half is glucose. Fructose is widely used by food and beverage manufacturers because it is inexpensive. "Americans are eating large amounts of this, three or four times more than we did 50 years ago," Johnson said.

The study, led by Johnson and Dr. Santos Perez-Pozo, a nephrologist at Mateo Orfila Hospital in Minorca, Spain, included 74 men, average age 51, who ate a diet that included 200 grams of fructose a day. That is far more than the average U.S. consumption of 50 to 70 grams, but "some people are getting as much as 150 grams a day, so we are not that far off," Johnson said.

Half the men also took daily doses of allopurinol, a drug for gout that reduces blood levels of uric acid, and the others took a placebo, an inactive substance.

After two weeks, men on the high-fructose diet who were taking the placebo had an average increase of six points in systolic blood
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