We hear nutritionists, doctors, and physical trainers that eating too much sugar is bad for us because it’ll make us overweight. While this is true, not everyone knows the full extent of the harmful effects of sugar. So, what’s the relationship between blood sugar and high blood pressure?

Sugar Consumption Recommendations

Aside from weight issues or diabetes, high blood sugar can also lead to high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adult women do not consume more than 6 teaspoons a day or 100 calories worth of added sugar. For men, the AHA recommends they do not exceed 9 teaspoons a day or 150 calories worth of added sugar.

However, Americans eat about 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, which is 3-4x more than what the AHA recommends. This overconsumption of sugar leads to serious health problems, like high blood pressure.

What’s the Relationship Between Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure?

One study took 810 adults ages 25-79 with prehypertension or early stages of hypertension. Researchers monitored how many sugary drinks the participants drank as well as their blood pressure.

On average, the participants drank 10.5 fl oz of sugary drinks at the start of the study. To find out the relationship between blood sugar and high blood pressure, the researchers halved the participants’ sugary drink consumption.

When researchers cut participants’ soda consumption, their systolic levels dropped by 1.8 mm HG and 1.1 in their diastolic levels.

1-2 points systolic decrease may lower risk of death after stroke by 8% and death from heart disease by 5%.

Another study published in 2014 found that diets that contained 17% to 21% of added sugar increased their risk of dying from heart disease by 38% compared to those who only got 8% of their calories from added sugar.

As these studies pointed out, the relationship between blood sugar and high blood pressure is a direct one–the more sugar consumed generally means a higher blood pressure, and vice versa.

Eating the recommended amount of sugar rather than overeating it, will do your heart a favor, as well as your weight and teeth.