PhotoHealth researchers continue to focus attention on sweet and salty foods as contributors to chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes.

New research suggests high levels of fructose sweeteners, combined with excessive sodium, can lead to a predisposition to fast onset, salt-sensitive hypertension.

Kevin Gordish, lead author of a study presented at Experimental Biology 2016, a medical conference in San Diego, says a majority of American adults get 10% or more of their daily calories from added sugars in food and beverages. Some, he says, consume 25% or more of their calories from added sugars.

Beverages huge source of added sugar

The team focused attention on beverages, calling them the most common source of added sugars in the American diet. Laboratory animals were fed drinking water with 20% fructose as part of their diet and compared to animals who received plain water with their food.

The researchers found that the specific combination of fructose and high salt introduced in the second week of the experiment rapidly increased blood pressure, resulting in hypertension.

“The Fructose-linked hypertension was associated with increased sodium retention, decreased sodium excretion and diminished factors that help rid the body of excess salt," Gordish said in a release. “Fructose intake, similar to amounts consumed within the American diet, predisposed normal rats to a rapid onset of salt-sensitive hypertension.”


Gordish concludes that a diet that includes a lot of salty snacks, like chips and crackers, washed down with sugary beverages, is a very bad combination. In particular, he says African Americans need to exercise caution, since they tend to have a high rate of salt-sensitive hypertension.

Overall, Gordish says the results should raise concern about the amount of fructose and sodium that makes up such a significant part of the American diet.

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