High Consumption of Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking one 12 oz. sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent in European adult men and women, according to a study published April 24 in Diabetologia. In addition, "one 12 oz. daily increment in artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a 52 percent increase in hazard ratio (HR)."

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The EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study looked at 11,684 incident cases and a sub-cohort of 15,374 participants after exclusions. Results showed that the HR of diabetes per 12 oz. increase in sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption was 1.22 (95 percent CI 1.09, 1.38) and was "only slightly attenuated after inclusion of measurements of body adiposity in the model." The adjusted HR was 1.52 (95 percent CI 1.26, 1.83).

After further adjustment for energy intake and body-mass index (BMI), the association of sugar-sweetened soft drinks with type 2 diabetes persisted (HR 1.18, 95 percent CI 1.06, 1.32), but the association of artificially sweetened soft drinks became statistically not significant (HR 1.11, 95 percent CI 0.95, 1.31). The authors also found that pure fruit juice and nectar consumption was not significantly associated with type 2 diabetes.

The authors note that "the increased risk of diabetes among sugar-sweetened soft drink consumers in Europe is similar to that found in a meta-analysis of previous studies conducted mostly in North America (that found a 25 percent increase in type 2 diabetes associated with one 12 oz. daily increment of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption)."

"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on its deleterious effect on health should be given to the population," the authors conclude.

Keywords: Plant Nectar, Fruit, North America, Body Mass Index, Carbonated Beverages, Sweetening Agents, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Adiposity, Energy Intake, Obesity, Europe

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