Drinking Fewer Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Lower Blood Pressure
fewer sugar-sweetened beverages -- a leading source of added sugar in
the U.S. diet -- may lower blood pressure, according to research
published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) has been
associated with an elevated risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and
type 2 diabetes, according to previous research. However, the effect of
sugar-sweetened beverages on blood pressure is uncertain, said lead
author Liwei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at Louisiana State
University Health Science Center School of Public Health in New
findings suggest that reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar
consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower blood
pressure and further reduce other blood pressure-related diseases,"
Chen said. "It has been estimated that a 3-millimeters of mercury (mm
Hg) reduction in systolic blood pressure should reduce stroke mortality
by 8 percent and coronary heart disease mortality by 5 percent. Such
reductions in systolic blood pressure would be anticipated by reducing
sugar-sweetened beverages consumption by an average of 2 servings per
used data on 810 adults, ages 25 to 79, with prehypertension (between
120/80 and 139/89 mm Hg) and stage I hypertension (between 140/90 and
159/99 mm Hg ) who participated in the PREMIER study, an 18-month
behavioral intervention study with a focus on weight loss, exercise,
and a healthy diet as a means to prevent and control high blood
pressure. At the start of the study, the participants drank an average
10.5 fluid ounces of SSB/day, equivalent to just under one serving. At
the study's conclusion, average consumption had fallen by half a
serving/day and both systolic blood pressure (the pressure when the
heart beats), and diastolic blood pressure, (the pressure between
beats), had declined significantly.
controlling for known risk factors of blood pressure, the analysis
found that a reduction of one serving/day of SSB was associated with a
1.8 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) drop in systolic pressure and a 1.1
mm Hg decline in diastolic pressure over 18 months. Researchers noted
that this association was partially because of weight loss, but even
after controlling for weight loss, the change in blood pressure was
noted that American adults consume an average of 2.3 servings (28
ounces) of sugar-sweetened beverages per day. In this study,
sugar-sweetened beverages were defined as drinks sweetened with sugar
or high-fructose corn syrup including regular soft drinks, fruit
drinks, lemonade and fruit punch.
drinks were excluded. The study potentially has important public health
implications, because even small reductions in blood pressure are
projected to have substantial health benefits on a population level,
according to Chen.
this study was conducted among mostly overweight adults and many with
hypertension, we believe that others will benefit by reducing the
consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages," she said.
"However, such evidence from humans is lacking, and we plan to conduct such research among non-hypertensive individuals."
say further study -- particularly randomized controlled trials to
establish any cause and effect relationship -- is warranted.
are Benjamin Caballero, M.D., Ph.D.; Diane C. Mitchell, M.S. R.D.;
Catherine Loria, Ph.D.; Pao-Hwa Lin, Ph.D.; Catherine M. Champagne,
Ph.D., R.D.; Patricia J. Elmer, Ph.D.; Jamy D. Ard, M.D.; Bryan C.
Batc; Cheryl A. M. Anderson, Ph.D., M.P.H. and Lawrence J. Appel M.D.,
M.P.H. Individual author disclosures can be found on the manuscript.
PREMIER trial was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Institute. The present study is supported in part from the School of
Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Science Center and
from the Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of
For more information on the American Heart Association, visit www.americanheart.org.