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Adverse cardiovascular effects of soft drinks in humans. Contributions of added fructose, caffeine and the interaction with a high-fat meal

English title Adverse cardiovascular effects of soft drinks in humans. Contributions of added fructose, caffeine and the interaction with a high-fat meal
Applicant Brown Clive
Number 112186
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Division de Physiologie Département de Médecine Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Cardiovascular Research
Start/End 01.07.2006 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 141'954.00
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Keywords (4)

hypertension; cardiovascular risk; endothelial dysfunction; autonomic nervous system

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Consumption of refined sugars is increasingly recognized as a public health concern. A major source of sugar is soft drinks, which comprise around a third of all dietary added sugars. The sugar in soft drinks is usually in the form of either sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, which comprises glucose and fructose in near-equal amounts. Chronic studies have suggested that the fructose component is particularly harmful, contributing to insulin resistance, hypertension and end organ damage in animals. Many soft drinks also contain caffeine, which might enhance the cardiovascular effects of the sugar. The cardiovascular load after ingestion of a single soft drink might, if repeated often enough, have cumulative adverse effects. These potential effects are important, given the high levels of soft drink consumption, especially among young people. However, there is very little human data available concerning the postprandial cardiovascular responses to sugar drinks. The aim our study is to fully characterise the acute cardiovascular responses (in terms of blood pressure and cardiac workload) to sugars drink in healthy human subjects. Since caffeine is also present in many soft drinks we will also test whether caffeine augments the cardiovascular responses to a sugar drink. Furthermore, soft drinks are often consumed together with a meal, particularly a high-fat meal from a fast food restaurant. We will therefore test whether there is a harmful interaction between the effects of ingestion sugar and a high-fat meal, particularly with regard to function of the blood vessels.Cardiovascular responses to the drinks will be evaluated using a non-invasive system that allows for beat-to-beat recordings of heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output and total peripheral resistance. We will also test the function of the blood vessels in the skin- Metabolism will be measured by indirect calorimetry from which values of oxygen consumption and energy expenditure will be derived. The sugar and caffeine contents of the drinks will be similar to those in widely available soft drinks, thus simulating a real-life situation as closely as possible. Considering the high levels of soft drink consumption, especially in young people, the information obtained from this project should be of significant scientific and public health interest.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
122554 Mechanisms of cardiovascular and autonomic dysregulation induced by caffeinated soft drinks in humans 01.03.2009 Project funding