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Sodas, Sugary Drinks May Raise BP

Study Finds Higher Blood Pressure in Heavy Soda Drinkers

AHA: Limit Added Sugars

The research included close to 2,700 middle-aged people in the U.S. and U.K. who were enrolled in a larger health study.

The participants reported what they ate and drank for four days, during which time their blood pressures were taken eight times. They also completed a detailed questionnaire examining lifestyle, medical, and social issues.

People who reported drinking more than one serving per day of sugar-sweetened drinks took in an average of about 400 calories more each day than people who drank no sugar-sweetened beverages.

The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars in their diets to no more than 100 calories a day and men limit added sugars to 150 calories.

A typical 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda has about 140 calories, and just about all the calories come from added sweeteners.

“[Non-diet] sodas are basically sugar water with or without caffeine,” AHA spokesperson Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, tells WebMD. “They are the No. 1 source of added sugars in a population where the majority of people are overweight.”

She concedes that a direct link between soda consumption and obesity and cardiovascular disease would be difficult to prove, but adds that she does not think the science linking sugar-sweetened beverages to these health issues has been overplayed.

Johnson is a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont.

“I don’t think anyone would say that limiting sugar-sweetened drinks is the only solution,” she says. “But to me, it is an important step in the right direction.”

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