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Drinking fewer sugary beverages could be linked to lower blood pressure

May 24, 2010 |  1:44 pm

Sugar-sweetened beverages get blamed for various health woes, obesity being one. But a new study finds there may be a link between drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and lowering blood pressure.

L2u416ncThe study included 810 men and women age 25 to 70 who were part of a lifestyle intervention study and had prehypertension or stage I hypertension. At the beginning of the study, participants drank an average of 10.5 ounces a day of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Overall, drinking one less serving, or 12 ounces, of sugar-sweetened beverages per day was associated with 1.8 drop in systolic blood pressure, and a 1.1 drop in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months. After the researchers adjusted for the weight loss the study participants experienced, there was still a significant difference seen in lowered blood pressure -- 0.7 for systolic, and 0.4 for diastolic. There was no relationship seen between a change in drinking diet beverages and differences in blood pressure.

Researchers tried to determine if the culprit in the sugar-sweetened beverages was the sugar, or the caffeine. A link was seen between lower blood pressure and consuming less sugar (glucose, fructose, sucrose, and combined forms of sugar), but not between caffeine consumption and a change in blood pressure.

Those who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages also tended to eat more calories, but less protein, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and dietary fiber.

"Our 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," said Dr. Liwei Chen, lead author of the study, in a news release. Chen is an assistant professor at Louisiana State University Health Science Center-School of Public Health in New Orleans.

The study was released today in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

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Jeffrey Bland in Genetic Nutritioneering groups high blood pressure with diabetes and sugar imbalances rather than with cholesterol and other cardio disorders, both in creating treatment plans and development of disease. Check the book out, highly regarded in the integrative medicine community.


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