Essential hypertension in humans may develop through a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Diet has long been under investigation as a potential effector of blood pressure. A diet high in sucrose or fructose can give rise to hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance and hypertension. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and oxidative stress are common features of hypertension. If glucose metabolism through the glycolytic pathway is impaired, as in insulin resistance, there will be a build-up of glyceraldehyde, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone phosphate with further metabolism to methylglyoxal, a highly reactive ketoaldehyde. Excess aldehydes can bind sulfhydryl groups of membrane proteins, altering membrane calcium channels, increasing cytosolic free calcium, peripheral vascular resistance and blood pressure. The presence of reactive aldehydes can also lead to oxidative stress. Dietary management through lower sucrose or fructose intake and increased consumption of vitamins improves glucose metabolism, lowers tissue aldehydes, increases anti-oxidant capacity and may also prevent hypertension.