Cutting sugary drinks lowers blood pressure

May 25, 2010 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Cutting sugary drinks lowers blood pressure
A new study has found a surprising link between sugary drinks and blood pressure.  Researchers from New Orleans are reporting that by cutting daily consumption of sugary drinks by just one serving a day, people can lower their blood pressure.

The research, which was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed dietary intake and blood pressure of over 800 adults measured at baseline, 6 and 18 months.

After known risk factors of high blood pressure were controlled for, a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption of one serving per day was associated with a drop of 1.8 mm Hg in systolic pressure and 1.1 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months.

After additional adjustments for weight change over the same period, a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was still significantly associated with blood pressure reduction.

Researchers, who reported their findings in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found no association between diet beverage consumption or caffeine intake and blood pressure, suggesting that sugar, not caffeine, may actually be the nutrient that is associated with blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure, measured in millimeters of mercury, is defined as systolic (top number) less than 120 and diastolic (bottom number) less than 80. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a systolic pressure of 140 or higher and a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, high blood pressure affects one in five Canadians and is the number one risk factor for stroke, and a major risk factor for heart disease.  Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40% and heart attack by up to 25%.

For more information on which foods can help boost heart health, check out Leslie Beck's book, Heart Healthy Foods for Life.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.