Just Two Sugary Drinks per Day Doubles Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Study

by Barbara Hewitt on October 21, 2016

Scientists in Sweden say they are surprised after finding that drinking more than two sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Drinking more than two 200ml of drinks in a 24-hour period, even if they are diet products, more than doubled the chances of developing the condition, according to the study out of the Karolinska Institute.

Sugary-DrinksFor those who drink lots of sugary beverages, the risk is even higher. The researchers found that five drinks per day increased the likelihood of having type 2 diabetes by 10.5 times.

Soft drinks also increased the risk of a less common condition called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (also known as lada) which shares characteristic of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The team of researchers studied the level of soft drink consumption in 2,874 Swedish adults and compared them with rates of diabetes. They found no difference between drinks with sugar and those with artificial sweeteners.

‘In this study, we were surprised by the increased risk in developing autoimmune diabetes by drinking soft drinks,’ said lead scientist Dr Josefin Edwall Lofvenborg. He explained that the drinks may stimulate and distort appetite, increasing food intake and encouraging a sweet tooth. Sweeteners might also affect microbes in the gut leading to glucose intolerance.

In the report, the team pointed out that their study looked at relative risk, which is the degree by which a risk is raised from its normal level and not absolute risk.

According Christine Williams, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Reading in the UK, it is noteworthy that the higher risk was the same for both sugar and artificial sweeteners, suggesting that the greater risk was not directly related to a higher calorie intake.

‘Even when the findings were adjusted to account for other factors that could explain the findings, such as greater energy intake, higher BMI or poor diet, the risks remained significantly higher for the higher intake groups,’ she said.

The scientists now plan to look at ways of combating the effects of the sugary drinks and will study if the risk can be mitigated by consuming other products, such as fatty fish. They will also try to find out if soft drinks are increasing the risk of both type 2 diabetes and lada by influencing glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This next study will be expanded to examine individuals from eight different countries across Europe.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas, while type 2 diabetes alters the way the body responds to insulin. Type 2 is related to obesity and lifestyle, including lack of exercise.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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