Fructose is one of the sweetest naturally occurring sugars and is frequently found in fruits, some vegetables, honey, and some other plants. What makes it different from other sugars is how the body treats it.
Lustig noted that fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, unlike glucose, which can be used by all organs of the body.
"The liver is under greater substrate pressure with fructose than with glucose, which means you'll generate more uric acid for the same number of calories," Lustig said.
Once in the bloodstream, uric acid inhibits the production of the nitric oxide which essential for keeping the blood vessels flexible. In turn, that leads to high blood pressure, Lustig said.
Either way, Johnson added, the take-home message is that "we should probably reduce our intake of added sugars, and that the benefits may be greater than simple weight loss."
While the researchers "aren't ready to recommend lowering uric acid as a means to treat blood pressure," he said, the study suggests further "examining the role of uric acid in blood pressure."