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How Many Sodas Makes a Diabetic?

Tim Boyer's picture
Drinking soda drinks and Diabetes

Previous research involving data from thousands of diabetic patients in the U.S. has led to the health warning that drinking sugary sodas may lead to developing diabetes. More recently, researchers from Europe report finding near-identical data matching American studies in their European diabetes population and have determined that one can of sugar-sweetened soda a day is enough to increase your diabetes risk by 22%.

A paralleled increase in the diabetes incidence and the consuming of sugary sodas in the U.S. over the past 30 years has lead health authorities to suspect a connection between the two. Growing evidence that too much sugar in the diet is detrimental to health has met opposition from the beverage industry not unlike that of the tobacco industry regarding cigarette smoking and cancer.

While recent programs attempt to outlaw or limit the availability of soft drinks in public places such as in schools, many such programs are predicted to fail as the public continues to flock toward soda machines like hummingbirds to a sugar water feeder―if there is no sugar in one neighborhood, you simply go to another to get your sugar fix.

“Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet,” states Dr. Adam Bernstein, Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and the lead author of a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that analyzed the risk soda drinking poses toward experiencing a stroke. “According to research from the USDA, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has increased dramatically in the United States over the past three decades, and it’s affecting our health.”

Health authorities warn that a diet rich in sugar-sweetened sodas is harmful to health because it provides a substantial and rapid sugar load that may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin, which then can eventually lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and thereby eventually—diabetes.

In the recently published European study in the journal Diabetologia, researchers analyzed data gleaned from over 350,000 participants across Europe including the UK, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.

What the researchers found was that after adjusting their data for confounding factors, that drinking as little as one can (12 ounces) of sugar-sweetened soda per day increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 22%.

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Furthermore, when the participants’ total calorie consumption and body mass index numbers were taken into account, the risk of developing diabetes only dropped slightly, but more importantly it statistically demonstrated that the sugar from drinking sodas contributes more toward developing diabetes than simply through an indirect effect by increasing body weight.

In other words, according to the authors of the study, “…obesity is neither the only nor the main mediator of the association, and that other mechanisms of action might be involved, such as the glycemic effect of sugar-sweetened drinks and consequent insulin resistance .”

Dr. Romaguera, the lead author of the study stated: "Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population."

For additional information on the health risks of drinking soda, click-on the following titled links:

Sodas Do More Harm Than Just Contribute to Obesity, Says Study

How Soft Drinks are Linked to Lung Problems

How restricting soda size makes you want to drink more

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: “Consumption of sweet beverages and type 2 diabetes incidence in European adults: results from EPIC-InterAct” Diabetologia DOI 10.1007/s00125-013-2899-8; D. Romaguera (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK) et al.



So one soda a day makes you a diabetic? We should all stop drinking it completely.