According to the World Health Organization(1), Diabetes affects 9% of the adult population worldwide.
Of those afflicted, approximately 90% have Type 2 Diabetes.
It has long been known that sugar intake is a major contributing factor in the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.
Recent research is shedding more light on exactly how sugary drinks can contribute to the development of the disease.
Just One Less Sugary Drink A Day Makes A Difference
According to an article published in the journal Diabetologia(2), every 5% of a person’s daily caloric intake that comes from sugary drinks correlates to an 18% higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes – that’s almost a 20% greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes for ever glass of sugary soda!
This data comes from the EPIC-Norfolk Study that looked at the diets of 25,000 people in Norfolk, England over a period of 11 years(3).
The researchers’ analysis of the data, which accounted for a range of factors such as total energy intake, found that soft drinks and other sweetened beverages posed a particularly insidious risk, as opposed to the consumption of natural fruit juice, coffee, or tea.
Backing Up Existing Research
This new study expands on previous research in Diabetologia, where authors collected information on food and beverage consumption across eight European countries. This previous research had indicated that daily consumption of sugary drinks like soft drinks was connected to a higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes – a conclusion which is consistent with today’s more recent findings.
Tying It In To Diabetes Prevention
“The good news is that our study provides evidence that replacing a daily serving of a sugary soft drink or sugary milk drink with water or unsweetened tea or coffee can help cut the risk of diabetes,” said researcher Dr. Forouhi, adding that this allows them to “(offer) practical suggestions for healthy alternative drinks for the prevention of diabetes.”
The study authors estimated that if study participants reduced their intake of sweetened beverages to below 10% of their total daily food and drink intake, up to 15% of new-onset diabetes cases could be avoided.
A Common Sense Approach To Prevention
While there are many anecdotes about diabetes prevention and management floating around out there – especially on the internet – managing your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes ultimately comes down to common sense.
Although it’s a positive thing to have scientists backing up the knowledge that sugary beverages like soft drinks and fancy sweetened ice coffees aren’t great for us, acting on that knowledge falls to individuals.
Researchers on the recent study hope that their contributions will help individuals to make healthier choices, understanding more of the science behind the risk that sugary beverages pose to their health.