US nutritionists develop healthy beverage index

Sugary soft drinks associated with higher visceral fat according to new research

A new tool called the Healthy Beverage Index (HBI) keeps you up to date about the qualty of your beverages and the cardiometabolic risks they may pose.

Under the 10-item scoring system, developed by researchers at Virginia Tech University in the US, a high HBI is associated with less fat, is less likely to provoke an increase in blood pressure and inflammation.

US dietary guidelines have long recommended replacing sugary drinks with water but this is the first tool to measure beverage quality.

"A Healthy Beverage Index (HBI), similar to the Healthy Eating Index, could be used to evaluate overall beverage intake quality and to determine if improvements in beverage intake patterns are associated with improvements in health," explained Kiyah J. Duffey, PhD, of the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, Virginia Tech. "A great deal of attention has been directed at sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake, and a broader focus beyond just SSBs is needed."

The paper on the HBI was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.