Study: Daily Soda Could Increase Diabetes Risk by 18%

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 18%, and artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) and fruit juice are not suitable, healthy alternatives to SSBs, according to a recent study.

While the consumption of SSBs has been found to be associated with a greater risk of obesity, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, little data exists on the direct connection between SSBs and diabetes.

Daily Soda Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Swap Processed Sugar For Fruit to Avoid Diabetes

In order to examine the effect of regular consumption of SSBs, ASBs, and fruit juice on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 observational studies involving 38,253 individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Overall, researchers found that higher consumption of SSBs raised the risk of type 2 diabetes development by 18% per one serving/day and 13%, before and after adjustments for adiposity. ASBs raised the risk by 25% and 8%, before and after adjustments, and fruit juice raised the risk 5% and 7%, before and after adjustment.

Using these data, researchers estimated that of the 20.9 million cases of type 2 diabetes predicted to occur over 10 years in the US, 1.8 million of them could be attributed to SSB consumption.  

“Habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages was associated with a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes, independently of adiposity,” they concluded.

“Although artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice also showed positive associations with incidence of type 2 diabetes, the findings were likely to involve bias. Nonetheless, both artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice were unlikely to be healthy alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

—Michael Potts

Imamura F, O’Connor L, Ye Z, et al. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. BMJ. 2015;351:h3576.