Sugary drink consumption impacts diabetes risk

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Research shows that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks significantly increases a person's risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers observed a similar trend for artificially sweetened drinks, but this became nonsignificant after adjusting for energy intake and body mass index (BMI).

"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on its deleterious effect on health should be given to the population," write Dora Romaguera-Bosch (Imperial College London, UK) and colleagues from the InterAct Consortium in Diabetologia.

Romaguera-Bosch and team analyzed data collected from 11,684 middle-aged people (mean age 51-53 years) with incident Type 2 diabetes and 15,374 controls without diabetes who were enrolled in one of the eight European cohorts participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study to assess links between sweetened beverage consumption and risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Validated dietary questionnaires were used to measure average intake of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and artificially sweetened soft drinks.

The researchers found that each 336 g increase (approximately 1.5 glasses) per day in consumption of sugar- and artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a 22% and 52% increase in the risk for incident Type 2 diabetes, respectively.

When the team adjusted their findings for energy intake and BMI, the association of sugar-sweetened soft drinks with Type 2 diabetes remained significant (18% increase in risk per consumption increment), but that of artificially sweetened drink consumption did not.

No association between consumption of juices and nectars with incident Type 2 diabetes was observed, however.

The findings of this study add to those of previous research suggesting a link between the consumption of sweetened soft drinks and diabetes.

"Whether BMI acts as a mediator or confounder and the magnitude of the effect of weight gain on these associations should be further assessed in studies with repeated measures of body weight," suggest Romaguera-Bosch and colleagues.

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