Here's another reason to watch out for high fructose corn syrup (HCFS), the ubiquitous, cheap, sweetener used in soft drinks and a wide range of processed foods such as salad dressings, ketchup, jams, jellies, ice cream, even bread. In addition to promoting weight gain, it may also raise your blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center queried more than 4,500 adults, age 18 and up, about their eating habits. Then, the investigators calculated their study participants' consumption of HCFS by looking at the amount of fruit juices, soft drinks, bakery products and candy they reported eating daily. The researchers found that individuals who ate or drank more than 74 grams of HCFS per day (the amount found in 2.5 servings of sugary soft drinks) were at increased risk of developing hypertension and that HCFS is "significantly and independently associated with higher blood pressure" in adults with no previous history of hypertension. More studies will be needed to see if cutting down on HCFS consumption can bring blood pressure back to normal.
My take? HCFS is a contributor to the obesity epidemic, may have disruptive effects on metabolism, and appears to elevate triglycerides (blood fats that increase the risk of heart disease) in men (but not women). Avoiding foods containing HCFS will benefit your health and help control your weight - and, it now appears, your blood pressure.
More information on lowering high blood pressure.