Diet & Nutrition
High blood pressure / hypertension
Diet Soda and Hypertension
Does drinking diet soda raise blood pressure? Despite what you might have heard, the answer is no, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Irvin Cohen, a nephrologist at Mayo in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that there have been several studies on a possible connection between diet soda and hypertension but that none of them have come up with any evidence suggesting that the link exists.
In fact, Cohen told the Mayo News Network, some research findings indicate that diet soda may help lower blood pressure.
One study Cohen cited tested blood pressure in four groups of overweight people. Each group drank rank one liter of either regular soda with sugar, diet soda, milk or water every day for six months. Blood pressure in those who consumed the diet soda and the milk came down by 10 to 15 percent, compared to those who drank sugared soda.
Cohen notes, however, that some population studies have shown a link between the regular consumption of diet soda and obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. But those are not definitively proven despite anything you might have heard about diet soda causing these condition.
Although changing your diet soda habit may not have an effect on your blood pressure, other lifestyle changes can make a difference, Cohen says. Specifically, he cites a low-salt, healthy diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. He also suggests exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and drinking in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for women of any age, and for men over 65. Men who are younger than 65, Cohen says, should have no more than two alcoholic drinks daily.
If those steps don’t control your blood pressure, Cohen says, medication may be necessary. He suggests talking with your doctor about treatment options.
For more information about health issues, visit www.mayoclinic.org.