Cutting sweetened beverages from diet may reduce blood pressure

DALLAS A new study published in Circulation, the American Heart Association journal, found that cutting sugar-sweetened beverages from one's diet may lower blood pressure.

Using data of  810 adults, ages 25 to 79 years, 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 sugar-sweentened beverages/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 and diastolic blood pressure significantly had declined.

"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 Liwei Chen, Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Public Health and lead author of the study. "It has been estimated that a 3-millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) reduction in systolic blood pressure should reduce stroke mortality by 8% and coronary heart disease mortality by 5%. Such reductions in systolic blood pressure would be anticipated by reducing sugar-sweetened beverages consumption by an average of 2 servings per day."

The 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 Public Health.

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