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Just One Sugar-Sweetened Drink a Day Increases the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Update Date: Apr 24, 2013 06:02 PM EDT

Drinking just one sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent, a new study suggests.

Since most research in this field has been conducted in North America, researchers from the Imperial College London and colleagues wanted to establish a link in Europe between sweetened beverage consumption and type 2 diabetes.  The findings are published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Researchers used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and the InterAct consortium and, which included a total of 350,000 participants. The study examined the consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks collected from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

The InterAct project studied 12,403 type 2 diabetes cases and a random sub-cohort of 16,154 identified within EPIC. After adjusting for confounding factors, researchers found that the consumption of one 12oz serving size of sugar-sweetened soft drink per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent. When total energy intake and body-mass index (BMI) were taken into account, the increased risk fell slightly to 18 percent, meaning the effect of sugar-sweetened soft drinks on diabetes goes beyond its effect on body weight.

The findings also showed a significant increase in type 2 diabetes incidences related to artificially sweetened soft drink consumption; however after taking BMI into consideration, the association disappeared. It is probable that this association was linked to participants because they had a higher body weight. Pure fruit juice and nectar consumption was not significantly associated with diabetes, but researchers were unable to separately study the effect of 100 percent pure juices compared to those with added sugars.,

The authors said the European study showed similar results to previous North American studies which found a 25 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes associated with consumption of a daily 12 oz sugar-sweetened soft-drink.

"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population," study author Dr Dora Romaguera wrote. Other authors included Dr Petra Wark and Dr Teresa Norat and colleagues.

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