Blog | Friday, May 25, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Sodas, whether regular or diet, associated with hypertension

Sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages are independently associated with an increased risk of incident hypertension, but it may not be the fructose that's responsible, a study found.

To examine the associations between sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages with incident hypertension, researchers conducted a prospective analysis of three large, prospective cohorts, the Nurses' Health Studies I (n=88,540 women) and II (n=97,991 women) and the Health Professionals' Follow-Up Study (n=37,360 men).

Results appeared online the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Both types of sweetened drinks were associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension. Those who drank one or more sugar-sweetened drink a day had an adjusted hazard ratio for incident hypertension of 1.13 (95 % confidence interval [CI], 1.09 to 1.17) compared with those who did not.

Those who drank one or more artificially sweetened beverage a day had an HR of 1.14 (95 % CI, 1.09 to 1.18). The association between sweetened beverage intake and hypertension was stronger for carbonated beverages versus non-carbonated beverages, and for cola-containing versus non-cola beverages in the NHS cohorts only.

Higher fructose intake from sugar-sweetened drinks as a percentage of daily calories was associated with increased hypertension risk in the NHS studies (P for trend=0.001 in both groups), while higher fructose intake from sources other than sugary drinks was associated with a decrease in hypertension risk in NHS II participants (P for trend=0.006).

"These observations raise the possibility that a common element in sugar-sweetened and diet soft drinks is at least in part responsible for the abnormalities associated with the metabolic syndrome, and in particular blood pressure," the authors wrote. With sugar ruled out by the study of diet sodas, other suspects might include caramel coloring, carbonation of the beverages, or the amount of sodium they have, which is tough to measure from questionnaires.