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Availability of Sugar Tied to Higher Rates of Diabetes 2

Update Date: Feb 28, 2013 02:16 PM EST

Researchers, doctors, and people have always believed that obesity is one of the largest contributing factors to diabetes 2. However, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the underlying factor that causes diabetes 2 and oftentimes, obesity as well, may actually be sugar consumption. The amount and availability of sugar within a nation can greatly influence the rate of type 2 diabetes in these countries as well.  

The numbers show that sugar, mostly in the form of soft drinks is the leading cause of diabetes 2. The study took into account the data collected from 175 countries. Data included rates of diabetes 2 and available calories made by sugar. The researchers found that a simple increase of 150 sugar based calories, which is almost the same as a small can of Coke or Pepsi, can increase the chances of diabetes 2 by 1.1%. That amount of sugar intake is responsible for about a third of the new diabetes cases in the United States and a quarter of the diagnoses of the disease globally. The researchers from Stanford University and UC San Francisco stress that the amount of sugar consumed needs to decrease dramatically in order to fight diabetes 2.

Although nutritionist and epidemiologist from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Walter Willett believes the findings will be good for countries who need to control their increasing rates of diabetes 2, he stresses that the statistics may still be underestimating the role of sugar. According to Dr. Willett, the study did not take into account the different types of sugar from other kinds of sources, such as fresh fruit. Dr. Willett was not a part of this research study.

The fight against obesity and diabetes 2 remains highly difficult. Over these past decades, the availability of sugar continue to be easier and easier for consumers as companies produce more and more alternative sweetening options. Roughly 62 calories readily available in every day foods are made from sugar.  Beverage sizes provided by restaurants and companies also do not help with limiting sugar intake since these large sizes tell people that it is normal to drink that much soda. There is an estimated 1.4 billion adults over 20 that currently fall into either the overweight or the obese categories.

Diabetes 2 can be very dangerous when left unchecked. When it is being treated, it can still contribute to many other diseases such as heart disease. Although the study did not find a direct scientific link between sugar and diabetes 2, it provided enough evidence to suggest that if sugar intake was decreased significantly, the cases of diabetes 2 may as well. 

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