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Cola Drinks May Raise Blood Pressure

Women who drink cola often are at an increased risk of raising their blood pressure level, a new study found. Data from two large Nurses Health studies, involving about 155,000 women, found that those who drank just one caffeinated cola drink every day had a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure. While those who drank more colas daily had an even higher risk, says researchers. The association between blood pressure and cola drinking was found to be consistent both for younger and older women, regardless of whether the cola was regular or diet.

Researchers found that women who drank one can of cola a day increased their risk for high blood pressure by nine percent in the first Nurses Health Study and by 13 percent in the second study. The risk increased even higher among those who consume four or more colas a day.

Although the study did find a strong link between caffeinated cola consumption and high blood pressure, it did not completely prove that cola drinks cause high blood pressure. However, researchers contend that cola drinking remained a risk factor even when the researchers compared only women who were matched for age, weight, alcohol use, previous trouble with high blood pressure, use of birth control pills, physical activity, smoking, and use of other classes of beverages.

Researchers infer but hasten to point out that some ingredients in cola drinks – the corn syrup in sugared colas and the caramel coloring in both sugared and diet colas – might be the culprits that cause high blood pressure. “If cola drinking is, in fact, a cause of high blood pressure, it would be important to identify the biological mechanism that makes this happen. We need to understand what it is that creates this link,” researchers conclude.

Interestingly the same study found that women who are regular or heavy coffee drinkers do not risk developing high blood pressure. Other short-term studies show that people who drink coffee experience a rise in blood pressure. Researchers say this is true only for people who are not used to drinking coffee everyday and in large quantities. The recent Nurses Health Study however, confirms that coffee does not put heavy coffee drinkers at risk of developing high blood pressure.

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