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Sodas Increase Risk of Hypertension

Researchers have linked the consumption of soft drinks by women to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

The long-term Nurses' Health Study looked at 33,000 women with high blood pressure and found that an increase in caffeine intake increased the risk of hypertension. But when coffee drinkers were separated from soda drinkers, the picture changed.

It seems that the more coffee the women drank, the lower their risk of developing hypertension. Those drinking only one cup per day had a very slight increased risk, but the risk decreased as the consumption increased to 2, 3, 4, 5 and even 6 cups a day.

The opposite was true in women who drank sugared cola. Every increase in soda beverages increased the risk of hypertension. Sugar-free colas were only slightly less risky.

The researchers concluded that there must be other offending ingredients in colas besides the caffeine that causes an increased risk of developing hypertension. Soft drinks contribute to many health problems, including increased diabetes and obesity. For women, soft drinks may be particularly harmful due to their phosphoric acid content. The acid alters metabolism and leads to bone loss and bone softening, which increases the risk of suffering from osteoporosis.


JAMA 05:294(18):2330-2335.

Key concepts: diet, soda, hypertension, blood pressure