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Even 1 Soda a Day Can Hike Your Diabetes Risk

10/28/2010 12:46 pm 0 comments

Source: Hanna Dubansky / U.S. News & World Report

A soda a day? That’s not so bad—a 150-calorie blip, burned off with a brisk half-hour walk. But it’s not only your waistline that’s at stake. A study released today in the journal Diabetes Care found that people with a daily habit of just one or two sugar-sweetened beverages—anything from sodas and energy drinks to sweetened teas and vitamin water—were more than 25 percent likelier to develop type 2 diabetes than were similar individuals who had no more than one sugary drink per month. Since the overall rate of diabetes is roughly 1 in 10, an increase of 25 percent raises the risk to about 1 in 8. One-a-day guzzlers in the study also had a 20 percent higher rate of metabolic syndrome, a collection of indicators such as high triglyceride levels suggesting that diabetes is not far off.

Click here to find out more!“Previous studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages are strongly associated with weight gain,” says lead author Vasanti Malik, a research fellow in the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition, who says the decision to examine the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of diabetes was “the logical next step.”

The researchers conducted a study of studies—a meta-analysis—to reach their conclusions. They identified eight studies with enough data to let them check for a link between sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes and three similar studies of metabolic syndrome. The largest diabetes study, which followed more than 91,000 American women ages 24 to 44 for eight years, made the strongest case for a relationship, and it wasn’t just because higher consumption of sweetened drinks added excess calories that turned into pounds. While weight gain is a known diabetes risk factor, the diabetes-beverage link persisted even after adjusting for that. “Other factors independently put you at risk for developing diabetes,” says Malik.

Earlier this year the American Heart Association issued a recommendation advising consumers to set a limit on sweetened drinks of 450 calories a week, or three 12-ounce sodas, in a 2,000-calorie diet. Calorie-counting is a convenient way to keep track, but it can be misleading. “Consumers are overly focused on calories,” says Constance Brown-Riggs, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, who would like people also to understand that a 12-ounce can of soda contains the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar. “They think it’s not that bad, without taking into consideration the other components that are putting them at risk.”

To read this article in its entirety visit U.S. News & World Report.

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