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Meta-analysis links greater sugar intake to higher blood pressure and lipids

05.23.2014

An article published ahead of print on May 7, 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition details the findings of New Zealand researchers of higher blood pressure and cholesterol among men and women who consumed the most sugar.

Researchers at the Riddet Institute and the University of Ontago in New Zealand selected forty trials for their analysis, which included a total of 1,699 men and women. Thirty-nine of the studies provided data concerning lipid levels and twelve reported blood pressure. Studies included those in which dietary interventions intended to alter sugar intake in one group of participants were compared to a group with a differing intake. The researchers found an association between increased sugar intake and higher total cholesterol and triglycerides in comparison with levels measured in subjects who had a lower intake, which was particularly strong in subgroup analyses of studies in which no significant difference in weight change occurred between the groups. An association between greater sugar intake and higher systolic blood pressure was observed in trials lasting eight weeks or more.

“This systematic review and meta-analyses provide evidence that dietary free sugars influence blood pressure and serum lipids independently of the effect of sugars on body weight,” Lisa A. Te Morenga and her collaegues conclude. “Although effects of sugars on blood pressure and lipids are relatively modest, our findings support the idea that reducing free-sugar intakes might be expected to reduce blood pressure and serum lipids.”

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