News Tuesday March 1, 2011

Obesity fuelled by sugary drinks

Sugary drinks are fuelling obesity and high blood pressure, a new study, published in the Hypertension journal reveals.

Data on more than 2,500 people showed that drinking more than 355ml a day of fizzy drink can be enough to raise blood pressure. Each time a person consumes a can of Coke, for example, their blood pressure goes up incrementally.

Reasons are unclear but the experts, from the US and Britain, believe sugar could disrupt blood vessel tone and salt levels in the body. Sweetened, non-sugar drinks did not carry the same risk.

Participants who drank fizzy drink put on 397 calories extra, when compared to those who avoided sugary beverages. People who drank more of these drinks generally had an unhealthy diet, and were more likely to be obese.

The researchers say that while consumption of high amounts of salt is well-known to cause high-blood pressure, this study shows that high sugar consumption can have the same impact.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association told the BBC: "This is another nail in the coffin for soft drinks.

"Not only do they make you obese but they may also put up your blood pressure. Drinking sweet soft drinks is not good news."

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. A person with high blood pressure is twice as likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. Obesity is also a major factor for heart disease.

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