Sugary soda and juice can boost blood pressure, weight


Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Pepsi, Mountain Dew, cranberry juice cocktail, and hundreds of other sugar-sweetened beverages may be heaven on the taste buds, but drinking them daily doesn’t do your body any favors.

According to the recently published International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (which goes by the pseudo acronym of INTERMAP), people who routinely drink sugared sodas or juices are more likely to have higher blood pressure and weigh more than those who don’t consume these beverages.

The INTERMAP results are in line with others showing a connection between drinking sweetened sodas and juices and a range of health problems, including excess weight, the metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. These drinks may have a greater effect on children than adults.

Keep in mind that these studies show only an association between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and poorer health. In the INTERMAP study, for example, it’s possible that people who routinely drink sugar-sweetened beverages have poorer diets or exercise less than people who don’t drink sweetened soda, and it’s those factors—not their choice of beverage—that causes problems. The clearest way to show cause and effect is with a randomized trial. So far, small trials have shown that reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce blood pressure and lower weight.

As their name implies, sugar-sweetened beverages deliver lots of sugar—a 12-ounce can of regular soda contaions nine to ten teaspoons of it—and few if any other nutrients.

Water, of course, is the ideal beverage—100% hydration with no calories or additives. If you want something more lively than water, try mixing three or fours parts of sparkling water with one part of real juice.


  1. Jay

    I think fresh juices are really good for you if your research and choose the right juice. There are so many vegetables and fruits that are benefitial to your health

  2. Cuisinart CHW-12

    What is your opinion of coffee and blood pressure? I’ve read differing opinions.

  3. Anonymous

    I often wonder why we don’t drink more water—it just kills me to see young people drinking super sized sodas!

  4. Tom

    Sugary drinks like soda and juice are also very acidic. I remember seeing a test that was done where soda had a ph of less than 3.[URL removed by moderator]

    If soda has a ph of 2.5 to 3.0, it makes me wonder just how many more health that we face today are a result of drinking this stuff. The thought of drinking something that is almost as acidic as battery acid can’t be good for anyone.

    The PH Miracle Diet refers to weight gain and disease from too much sugar and also refers to sugar as being acidic to the body. I believe Harvard was doing some studies on the reversal of cancer and diabetes based on this theory but I don’t know if they are ongoing or have completed.

    Are you aware of these studies? If so, can you comment on them?

  5. AbuBakar

    Very true, Unfortunately I have experienced it my self. You can say I am somewhat addict to drinking pepsi, coca cola etc, but as a result of that I have put on around 10 pounds within a year. And you people would not believe this because I am from medical field, dentist, myself and play soccer for an hour daily but still I put on extra 10 pounds. Now I am confirmed that this was due to my bad habit of drink pepsi etc regularly.
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  6. naya

    I usually make my own juice every morning. But i always add 2 tbs of honey into it, and I have to say it taste sweeter than without adding honey into it. Is this kind of sugared juice you mentioned above? Every night I also drink milk with honey addition into it. Hope you explain it P.J. Thank you.

    • Avatar
      P.J. Skerrett

      Naya — Any beverage that contains a high percentage of sugar, and that includes any fruit juice (with or without honey) is on the limit list.

  7. natural remedies cancer

    One concern is how the sweetened come from, is it syntactic or not extract pure natural compound. We need to watch carefully and don’t trust advertisement.

  8. Nick Jones

    Yes nearly everything these days is sugar filled, even drinks like orange juice ! (and I’m not talking about natural sugars here)

  9. yudika

    This is not shocking me, everything contains sugar-sweetened is not really good to our body. Why many people sacrificing their health over good tasting buds?
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  10. Bris

    Sugar as well as sodium found in sodas make elevations in blood pressure.Cutting back on sugary sodas and other sweet beverages may help lower blood pressure.
    [URL removed by moderator]

  11. Chris Huntley

    Hi P.J.,
    Don’t you think the results of this study are impossible to be truly “random”, as you said, since generally speaking, people who watch their sugar intake are also probably more likely to exercise and watch other aspects of their diet.
    Also, my interest in your post is from my insurance background, so I wonder if you could comment on how high blood pressure affects life expectancy?
    Thank you.
    Chris Huntley, Author of Life Insurance Taking Blood Pressure Medication

  12. Natural Remedies for Diabetes

    what causes diabetes? what they have done wrong with their life style? Well, this disease appears when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or it stops producing insulin or the insulin which is produced does not work efficiently. This causes a high level of glucose in the blood.
    [URL removed by moderator]

  13. Habib Mohon Moni

    Great list, this is going to be really helpful!
    Really thanks for this usefull post.

  14. Helen Hoart

    And sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime tastes really good too!

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