Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fructose-rich foods up hypertension risk

Following a diet rich in fructose places the individual at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and subsequently cardiovascular events, a new study finds.

Fructose is a key ingredient in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Added sugars are commonly found in processed foods such as candy, cookies, cakes, and soda.

According to the study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the dramatic increase in the consumption of fructose-rich foods and beverage during the last decades can explain the similar trend reported for hypertension. Individuals eating or drinking 74 grams or more of fructose from added sugar per day (equal to 2.5 sugary soft drinks per day) are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, the study found.

"Limiting fructose intake is readily feasible, and in light of our results, prospective studies are needed to assess whether decreased intake of fructose from added sugars will reduce the incidence of hypertension and the burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. adult population," said lead researcher Diana I. Jalal. She added that eating fructose-rich fruits, however, is less troublesome as they contain healthful substances such as antioxidants and fiber.

Officials from the Corn Refiners Association, on the other hand, stressed that fructose is not the only sweetener used in caloric soft drinks, adding that "the authors miscalculated the number of beverages represented by 74+ grams of fructose/day."