Posted on Nov 29, 2011, 6 a.m.
Consuming beverages flavored with either sugar or artificial sweeteners associates with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension).
A number of studies show strong relationships between sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes risk and weight gain. John Forman, from Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA), rand colleagues examined data from three large, prospective studies -- the Nurses' Health Study I (88,540 women), the Nurses' Health Study II (97,991 women), and the Health Professionals' Follow-Up Study (37,360 men), including only those individuals who had normal blood pressure at the study’s start. Through follow-up ranging from 16 to 26 years, the participants reported dietary habits every four years on standardized food surveys. Every two years, they reported whether they had received a hypertension diagnosis from a doctor. Across all three study groups, the researchers observed that a higher intake of both sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages associated with a greater risk of developing hypertension during follow-up. The study authors conclude that: “Both [sugar-sweetened beverages]and [artificially sweetened beverages] are each independently associated with an increased risk of incident hypertension after controlling for [confounding factors],” with their further exploration suggesting a role for carbonation and whether the drink was cola or not.
Cohen L, et al. "Association of sweetened beverage intake and incident hypertension is similar between sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages" [Abstract TH-PO765]. Presented at American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting 2011, November 10, 2011.