A Soda a Day May Bring Diabetes Your Way

It’s no secret these days that drinking soda isn’t exactly good for you. When even the mayor of New York City attempts to make large containers of these popular drinks illegal, one needs to think twice. Now a large European study indicates that drinking even one 12-ounce can of soda a day can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 18 percent

The study was part of a larger study on how genetics and lifestyle influence the risk of developing diabetes, involving 330,000 participants from the UK, German, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands. It included approximately 12,000 people, who had developed diabetes during the previous 16 years. Another 15,000 were chosen as a comparison group.

The study, which is one of the largest of its kind, found even just one 12-ounce can of soda a day (think Coca-Cola, Pepsi, energy drinks) increase their odds of developing type 2 diabetes by 18%. For every additional regular-sized can that you drink on a daily basis, add another 18% to that risk.

The results of the European study are similar to those found by studies conducted in the United States.

The study included a variety of soft drinks, including sugar-sweetened drinks (colas), artificially sweetened drinks (diet colas), and fruit juices. People who drank diet soda were also at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes during the study compared with those who drank no soda, but when participants' BMI was considered, the increased risk disappeared. Juice did not show as an increased risk in this study.

This sort of study cannot prove beyond a doubt a cause and effect relationship between these sugary drinks and diabetes, but they definitely point to a strong correlation.

According to the researchers, sugar-sweetened drinks may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, because of the weight gain experienced by drinkers. There is also a glycemic effect that can produce rapid spikes in blood glucose and interfere with the production of insulin, which typically regulates the blood sugar.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes. Another 79 million are prediabetic.  In addition to the quality of life issues these extreme numbers present, the cost of medical expenses are 2.3 times higher than for those without diabetes.

Source: Diabetologia, the Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes