We know there’s a link between type-2 diabetes and soft drinks. But new research conducted at Imperial College London has shown that even drinking a single can of sugary drink per day can increase the risk of type-2 diabetes by as much as 22%. Interestingly, it also suggests that this risk is caused as much by increased insulin resistance caused by excess sugar consumption, as by increased body weight.
The study, which was led by Dr Dora Romaguera, focused on eight countries in the European Union. Nearly 30,000 people took part in the experiment, which involved 12,403 people that already suffered from diabetes and 16,154 that did not.
The findings were shocking, showing that one single sugar beverage per day increased the risk of developing diabetes by 22%. This number doubled for individuals who consumed two 335ml sugary drinks per day.
“This finding adds to growing global literature suggesting that there is a link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity and risk of development of type 2 diabetes,” said Professor Nick Wareham, who oversaw the study. “This observation suggests that consumption of these beverages should be limited as part of an overall healthy diet.”
While the link between sugary drinks, weight gain, and type-2 diabetes is now widely accepted across the scientific community, the study also showed a possible link between sugary drinks and increased resistance to insulin. Because sugar is a carbohydrate that breaks down extremely fast in the digestive track, it can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to wild fluctuations in the body’s insulin levels. Isulin at high levels is toxic, causing insulin-resistance, thus leading to increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
The study conducted by Imperial College London is one of many that have been conducted recently in regards to sugary drinks and their connection to diabetes. A study by Harvard’s School of Public Health followed over 90,000 women for a period of eight years, finding that those who had one or more sugar drinks per day were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes as those women who drank one per week or one per month.