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High Fructose Intake May Raise Blood Pressure

Study Shows Link, but Not Everyone Is Convinced

Beverage Industry Response

The beverage industry isn't convinced. ''It's important to remember that this is an abstract presented at a scientific meeting," says Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association in a prepared statement in response to the study.

''It is not a published, peer-reviewed paper where the study, the data and the results and conclusions have undergone the rigors of peer review.'' Because of that, Storey says, it is ''impossible to provide thoughtful comments on the results."

She adds: ''There is nothing unique about soft drinks and/or high-fructose corn syrup when it comes to risk for high blood pressure." She notes the many other risk factors for high blood pressure, including family history, lack of exercise, being overweight, and having a poor diet.

Second Opinion

Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at  Washington University in St. Louis and a past president of the American Dietetic Association, reviewed the study for WebMD, and says: "The issue of fructose is one that is drawing much attention, but outcomes from research are conflicted." She awaits more study to see if the fructose-high blood pressure link is a true cause and effect, or more weakly associated.

Her advice: Sugary foods should only be chosen after you've had your fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.

Jalal says it's difficult to tell consumers an exact level of fructose intake that's healthy. And she cautions that she's not talking about the fructose found in fruits and some vegetables. ''Fruits do have fructose, but not as much as a piece of pecan pie or a soft drink. Fruits have much less.''

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