drinking-ojTwo researchers from Virginia Tech University, Kiyah J. Duffey, PhD, and Brenda M. Davy, PhD, developed the healthy beverage index (HBI), which is a 10-item scoring system that captures total energy from beverages, total fluid requirements, and recommended limits for beverage subgroups, such as low-fat milk, fruit juice, and alcohol.

Davy and Duffey weighted some components of the HBI more heavily because of their recognized contributions to good health, such as water contributing at least 20% of total fluid intake, and others less heavily, for example, consuming no more than 8 oz. of fruit juice.

In the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Davy and Duffey describe how HBI can be used to more accurately evaluate dietary consumption of all types of fluids.

Using dietary and health data from over 16,000 adults who participated in the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2005-2010), the Virginia Tech researchers calculated HBIs and correlated those with cardiometabolic risk factors such as obesity/overweight, hypertension, high fasting insulin, high fasting glucose, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high CRP. The HBI score ranges from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better for participants. They found that higher HBI scores were associated with more favorable lipid profiles, decreased risk of hypertension; and, among men, better C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

"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," states Duffey. "A great deal of attention has been directed at sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake, and a broader focus beyond just SSBs is needed."

Eventually, the researchers would like to see the HBI as an online tool that would help the public assess their beverage intake, and make adjustments accordingly.

Source: Elsevier Health Services