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Fructose Not So Sweet After All

Two new studies that were presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago on September 23, 2009 found that fructose may increase blood pressure.

Fructose is a simple sugar like glucose and sucrose. It is often used to sweeten food and drink products. One of the most popular forms is high fructose corn syrup, used regularly in sodas and processed foods.

The first of the two studies was conducted by researchers with the Mateo Orfila Hospital in Spain and included 74 men with an average age of 51.

The men ate a diet which included 200 grams of fructose daily (the equivalent of 8 sodas). This is much higher than the average American's consumption of around 70 grams of fructose daily, although some people do reach levels of 200 grams a day.

Half the participants took a drug for gout called allopurinol that lowers uric acid levels and the other half took a placebo.

After two weeks the participants who took the placebo saw a 6 point increase in systolic blood pressure whereas the allopurinol group only saw a 1 point increase.

The researchers report that while further studies are necessary to confirm these findings, it appears that fructose increases blood pressure by raising uric acid levels.

The second study used mice and was conducted by researchers at Wright State University in Ohio. The researchers in this study observed increases in blood pressure due to fructose consumption, as well as an increase in weight gain.

In addition, they found that consuming fructose at night appeared to have a larger affect on blood pressure and weight gain. The researchers believe the results of the study suggest that excessive fructose intake may play a role in the worldwide obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Previous studies have had similar findings and have also linked fructose to heart disease. Many foods that make up the daily American diet contain fructose, so the best way to avoid consuming too much is by checking food labels.

Fructose is most commonly found in packaged foods, junk food, fast food and soft drinks, so minimizing consumption of these foods is a good way to reduce the amount of fructose in your diet.

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