The objective of the research was to determine the blood pressure (BP) lowering effects in older people of 50 g carbohydrate drinks with varying carbohydrate content using a randomised, cross-over study with ten (six females) healthy older subjects (mean age 72·20 (sem 1·50) years). BP, heart rate and glucometer-derived blood glucose levels were determined at baseline and following the ingestion of equal volumes (300 ml) of water and carbohydrate drinks with varying nutrient content (glucose, sucrose and fructose). A significant decline in BP over the first 60 min was seen following glucose (systolic BP (SBP) P<0·01, diastolic BP (DBP) P<0·01, mean arterial BP (MAP) P=0·03) and sucrose (SBP P<0·01, DBP P<0·01, MAP P<0·01) ingestion, although the decrease occurred earlier after glucose than sucrose ingestion (SBP 7·33 (sem 2·19) v. 21·00 (sem 4·30) min (P=0·03) and MAP 11·22 (sem 3·10) v. 17·00 (sem 3·78) min (P=0·03)). BP increased after water ingestion (SBP P=0·04, DBP P=0·18, MAP P=0·02) but did not change after fructose ingestion (SBP P=0·36, DBP P=0·81, MAP P=0·34). Post hoc analyses revealed that the BP (SBP, DBP and MAP) decrease following glucose and sucrose ingestion were similar but significantly greater than following fructose or water ingestion. Sucrose, which is used widely (table sugar), reduces BP as much as glucose. In contrast to this, fructose ingestion causes no change in BP. Further studies are required to determine if the substitution of glucose or sucrose with fructose may be beneficial in the medical management of older people with severe symptomatic postprandial hypotension.