Have you ever noticed that soft drinks sometimes leave you more thirsty? A 12 ounce can of coke has 50 grams of added sodium (salt), and the salty taste covered by the 40 grams of added sugar. This added salt in the soda may influence you to drink more compared to drinking water. Dietary salt is a major determinant of how much fluid we drink, and there have been studies that correlate dietary salt consumption with sugar sweetened beverage consumption.
Salt has long been known as a risk factor for high blood pressure; however, a new study published last month in Hypertension journal has found a striking degree of correlation between sweetened beverages (soft drinks and fruit drinks) and high blood pressure.
The researchers analyzed the diets of 2,700 people and found that those who drank more than one sweetened beverage per day, had higher blood pressure than those that didn’t. Furthermore, the more sweetened beverages that they drank, the higher the blood pressure. Higher blood pressure was found in participants who consumed more glucose and fructose, which are both sweeteners found in high-fructose corn syrup—the most common sugar sweetener used in the beverage industry.
In addition, co-author Ian J. Brown, Ph.D., stated that the greatest increase in blood pressures were observed among those participants who consumed the highest number of sugar-sweetened beverages in addition to having the highest level of salt intake. Dr. Brown notes, “Our findings suggest that sugar and salt together may be worse than salt alone.”
The American Heart Association recommends no more than half of the discretionary calorie allowance from added sugars, which for most American women is no more than 22 grams of sugar (100 calories) per day and for most American men no more than 33 grams of sugar (150 calories) per day.
Furthermore, the relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that some researchers calculate that for each additional soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.
Hypertension, February 28, 2011 DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.165456