Regular intake of sugary beverages, not diet soda, associated with prediabetes

BOSTON (November 9, 2016)—Adult Americans who regularly consumed sugar-sweetened beverages (roughly one can of soda per day) had a 46 percent higher risk of developing prediabetes compared to low- or non-consumers over a 14-year period, according to a new epidemiological analysis led by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University. Higher sugar-sweetened beverage intake was also associated with increased insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

No associations between diet soda consumption and risk of prediabetes or increased insulin resistance were found. However, the research team notes that previous studies on associations between diet soda and risk of type 2 diabetes have produced mixed results, and further studies are needed to reveal the long-term health impact of artificially sweetened drinks. The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition on Nov. 9.

“Although our study cannot establish causality, our results suggest that high sugar-sweetened beverage intake increases the chances of developing early warning signs for type 2 diabetes. If lifestyle changes are not made, individuals with prediabetes are on the trajectory to developing diabetes,” said senior study author Nicola McKeown, Ph.D., scientist in the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the USDA HNRCA.

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