It's confirming what parents and health professionals have long suspected: fizzy drinks aren't good for you.

New research has found that an adult who drinks just five cans of fizzy drink or drinks containing sweeteners see alarming rises in their blood pressure levels, from a normal level to a high. This substantially increases their risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease.

Parents are warned that their children may be subject to the same adverse effects on their blood pressure levels, even though their child may drink less.

Professor Paul Elliott, senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said; "It's widely known that if you have too much salt in your diet, you're more likely to develop high blood pressure.

"The results of this study suggest that people should be careful about how much sugar they consume as well."

Researchers are not clear about why sugary drinks appear to push up blood pressure. But they may raise uric acid, which in turn raises blood pressure by reducing the levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the lining of the blood vessels.

Posted by Penny Hosie on 2.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com