A new study led by researchers at Harvard found that high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) was linked to a higher risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people with type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, drinking healthier beverages like coffee, tea, low-fat cow’s milk, and plain water was linked to a lower risk of dying premature.
The study looked at the consumption of different beverages among patients with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers analyzed an average of 18.5 years of health data from 9,252 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study and 3,519 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
All of them had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at baseline or at some point during the study.
The participants reported how often they consumed SSBs, artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs), fruit juice, coffee, tea, low-fat cow’s milk, full-fat cow’s milk, and plain water.
The findings showed that those who regularly consumed SSBs had higher all-cause death and higher incidences of death from CVD.
Every additional daily serving of an SSB was linked to an 8% higher all-cause death.
In contrast, all-cause death and incidence of death from CVD decreased among those who regularly consumed healthier beverages such as coffee, tea, low-fat cow’s milk, and/or plain water.
Replacing one daily serving of an SSB with one serving of coffee was linked to an 18% lower risk of all-cause death and a 20% lower risk of CVD death; tea with 16% and 24% lower risk; plain water with a 16% and 20% lower risk; and low-fat cow’s milk with a 12% and 19% lower risk.
Drinking ASBs was also linked to healthier outcomes, but less so: Replacing one daily serving of an SSB with an ASB was linked to an 8% lower risk of all-cause death and a 15% lower risk of CVD death.
The team says switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to healthier beverages will bring health benefits. People living with diabetes should be picky about how they keep themselves hydrated.
The study’s findings can help inform patients and their caregivers on diet and diabetes management.
Beverage quality is an essential component of our diet, and people with diabetes may particularly benefit from drinking healthy beverages.
How to prevent type 2 diabetes
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Losing weight through healthy eating and regular exercise can reduce your risk.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently, which can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and salt.
Quit smoking: Smoking is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to quit.
Limit alcohol intake: Drinking alcohol in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men) may have health benefits.
However, excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Monitor your blood sugar levels: If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are overweight or obese, or have other risk factors, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar levels checked regularly.
By making these lifestyle changes, you can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and improve your overall health.
If you have concerns about your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about new drugs to treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and heavy cannabis use may decrease the incidence of diabetes.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about the normal blood sugar for people with diabetes, and results showing Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
The study was published in The BMJ.
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