Study shows link between sugary soft drinks and risk of Type 2 diabetes

Thursday 25 April 2013

Drinking just one can a day of sugar-sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 22 per cent, according to a new study.

The study, which is published in the journal Diabetologia, aimed to establish if there is a link between consumption of sweet drinks (including fruit juices and artificially sweetened soft drinks) and developing Type 2 diabetes. Using data from a wider European health study, the researchers examined the drinking habits of nearly 30,000 people, with and without diabetes.

One can per day can increase risk

They found that, after adjusting for other factors such as body mass index (BMI), drinking just 12oz (336ml) per day of a sugar-sweetened soft drink led to a 22 per cent increase in the chance of developing the condition. This increase was not found for either fruit juices or artificially sweetened soft drinks.

Dr Dora Romaguera of Imperial College London, who led the study, said, "Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population."

Limit consumption of sugary foods and drinks

Dr Matthew Hobbs, Head of Research at Diabetes UK, said, "The finding that people who drank more sugar-sweetened soft drinks were at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, even when BMI was taken into account, suggests the increased risk was not solely due to the extra calories in those drinks.

"Not definitive evidence"

"The large number of people involved in this study means this finding is extremely unlikely to have happened by chance. Even so, it is not definitive evidence that sugar-sweetened soft drinks increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, other than through their effect on body weight.

"We do, though, already recommend limiting consumption of sugary foods and drinks as these are usually high in calories and so can lead to weight gain if you have too many of them. This is important for Type 2 diabetes because we know that maintaining a healthy weight is the single most important thing you can do to prevent it."