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J Hypertens. 2008 Jul;26(7):1402-10. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283007dda.

High-sugar diets increase cardiac dysfunction and mortality in hypertension compared to low-carbohydrate or high-starch diets.

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Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.



Sugar consumption affects insulin release and, in hypertension, may stimulate cardiac signaling mechanisms that accelerate left ventricular hypertrophy and the development of heart failure. We investigated the effects of high-fructose or sucrose diets on ventricular function and mortality in hypertensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats.


Rats were fed chows that were either high starch (70% starch, 10% fat by energy), high fat (20% carbohydrates, 60% fat), high fructose (61% fructose, 9% starch, 10% fat), or high sucrose (61% sucrose, 9% starch, 10% fat). Hypertension was induced by adding 6% salt to the chow (n = 8-11/group).


After 8 weeks of treatment, systolic blood pressure and left ventricular mass were similarly increased in all rats that were fed high-salt diets. Hypertension caused a switch in mRNA myosin heavy chain isoform from alpha to beta, and this effect was greater in the high-salt sucrose and fructose groups than in starch and fat groups. The cardiac mRNA for atrial natriuretic factor was also increased in all high-salt groups compared to respective controls, with the increase being significantly greater in the hypertensive sucrose fed group. Mortality was greater in the sucrose group (44%) compared to all the other hypertensive groups (12-18%), as was cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Left ventricular ejection fraction was lower in the high-salt sucrose group, which was due to an increase in end-systolic volume, and not increased end-diastolic volume.


Diets high in sugar accelerated cardiac systolic dysfunction and mortality in hypertension compared to either a low-carbohydrate/high-fat or high-starch diet.

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