WASHINGTON: Researchers have developed a scoring method for assessing beverage intake that can be used to accurately evaluate dietary consumption of all types of fluids.

The Healthy Beverage Index (HBI) scores were associated with more favourable lipid profiles, decreased risk of hypertension and, among men, better C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

Water consumption is associated with numerous health benefits and beverage recommendations exist, but few have evaluated overall beverage intake quality, said the study appearing in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“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,” said Kiyah J Duffey from the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise, Virginia Tech University.

The HBI is a 10-item scoring index that captures total energy from beverages, total fluid requirements, and recommended limits for beverage subgroups, such as low-fat milk, fruit juice, and alcohol.

The team used dietary and health data from over 16,000 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2005-2010).

They 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 zero to 100, with a higher score indicating better adherence to beverage guidelines and a healthier beverage intake pattern in both men and women.

People with better HBI scores had more favourable cardiometabolic outcomes.

Among all females, regardless of weight status, each 10-point higher HBI score was associated with an average four per cent lower odds of having high fasting insulin levels.