Drinking any sugary beverages may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes

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Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks and fruit juices, have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers found that those who increased their intake of sugary drinks, whether they contained added or naturally occurring sugar, were at a moderately higher risk of developing the condition.

The study also discovered that artificial sweeteners did not lessen diabetes risk, but replacing one daily serving of sugary drinks with water, coffee or tea could lower the risk of developing the disease by between 2% and 10%.

The study is the first to examine the link between long-term changes in sugary beverage consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The research analyzed data from more than 192,000 men and women participating in three long-term studies – the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study.

The research calculated changes in participants’ sugary beverage consumption over time from their responses to food frequency questionnaires administered every four years.

After accounting for variables such as body mass index, other dietary changes and lifestyle habits, researchers found that increasing total sugary beverage intake, including both SSBs and 100% fruit juice, by more than 4 ounces per day over a four-year period was associated with a 16% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following four years.

Similarly, increasing consumption of artificially sweetened beverages by more than 4 ounces per day over four years was linked with an 18% higher risk.

But the authors warned that findings regarding ASBs should be interpreted with caution because of the possibility of reverse causation.

Although previous studies have suggested links between sugar-sweetened drinks and a higher risk of diabetes, this study analyzed longer-term trends and tracked changes in consumption over time.

The authors emphasized the importance of reducing sugar intake and replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with water, coffee or tea, in line with current guidelines.

The study results are in line with current recommendations to replace sugary beverages with noncaloric beverages free of artificial sweeteners.

Although fruit juices contain some nutrients, their consumption should be moderated.

How to prevent type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes blood sugar (glucose).

While some factors like genetics and age cannot be changed, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight, especially around the waist, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight, such as 5-10% of your total body weight, can significantly reduce your risk of developing the condition.

Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently and lowers your blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week.

Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Avoid processed and high-fat foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of red and processed meats.

Limit sugary and processed foods: Foods high in sugar and processed foods can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance. Limit your intake of sugary drinks, sweets, and processed snacks.

Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems like heart disease and stroke. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health and lower your risk of developing diabetes.

Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for maintaining a healthy weight and regulating blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Monitor your blood sugar levels: If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar levels can help detect the condition early and prevent complications. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should check your blood sugar levels.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a cure for type 2 diabetes, and why insulin is more expensive for people with diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about bone drug that could lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing eating more eggs linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study was published in Diabetes Care.

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