New research shows that high fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener added to sugary soft drinks and processed food, can contribute to high blood pressure.
The study found that people who ate or drank more than 74 grams of fructose per day - equivalent to 2.5 sugary soft drinks - increased their risk of developing high blood pressure.
Scientists who carried out the study said that excessive amounts of the sweetener may be harmful to the body, as the liver pumps fats into the bloodstream, potentially damaging arteries.
Researchers who carried out the new study in the US looked at more than 4,500 adults with no prior history of hypertension.
Fructose intake was calculated using a dietary questionnaire which asked participants to rate their consumption of foods such as fruit juices, soft drinks, bakery products and confectionery.
High fructose corn syrup, known as HFCS, was introduced around 20 years ago to food and soft drinks.
The findings were presented to the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego, California.