Sugary Drinks and Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

It's been common knowledge for years that unhealthy food and drinks contribute to obesity, which can in turn contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes. But a new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden highlights just how great this risk can be – or rather, how little soda we need to consume to put ourselves at risk.

According to Lead study author Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg and her research team, consuming 200 milliliters of sugary soft drinks – even artificially sweetened soft drinks – doubles a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The Study

To conduct their research, Löfvenborg's colleagues gathered a group of 2,874 Swedish adults. 1,136 of their test subjects had type 2 diabetes, 357 had a form of type 1 diabetes known as latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), and 1,137 has no form of diabetes.

Scientists studied each subject's insulin resistance levels, beta cell functionality, and their body's autoimmune response, along with dietary data provided by the individual. Specifically, the team analyzed the number of soft drinks each person consumed on average up to one year before their diagnosis. Just under two-thirds of participants reported consuming soda, both regular and diet varieties.

For fans of soft drinks, the results did not look good. Drinking at least two 200-milliliter soft drinks each day doubled a patient's risk of LADA and raised their risk of type 2 diabetes 2.4 times. But the biggest surprise was in what they didn't find: these results were consistent for drinkers of regular and diet sodas.

A Dietary Danger

Löfvenborg's research adds to the body of evidence damning sugary drinks as it is, but the specificity of his data really drives the point home for many. After all, the average 12-ounce soft drink holds 300 milliliters, which means that 1.5 cans is all it takes to put your at risk.

These new findings also open doors for more research on diet sodas. Löfvenborg herself admitted that, "We need more data on artificially sweetened drinks before we (advise) anything," but she did speak out against sugary drinks in general. In an interview with Medical News Today Löfvenborg said:

"I would recommend individuals to limit their intake of sugary soft drinks, both considering risk of diabetes but also other adverse health effects, such as the risk of excess energy intake leading to overweight, poor dental health and such.
As for artificially sweetened soft drinks, there is no nutritional value in consuming them. But even though there are suggested mechanisms and accumulating evidence suggesting adverse health effects, I still think we need to investigate this further before making any recommendations."

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