­Sugar-Sweetened, But Not Diet Drinks Increase Prediabetes Risk

High consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, but not diet soda, was associated with increased insulin resistance and increased risk of developing prediabetes, according to a recent study.

Although previous studies have examined the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and insulin resistance and prediabetes, the relationship between diet soda and insulin resistance remains unclear.

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To better understand the long-term effects of sugary drink consumption, the researchers analyzed 1685 middle-aged participants in the Framingham Offspring cohort.

The researchers assessed the association between consumption of sugary drinks or diet soda and incident prediabetes over 14 years, as well as the change in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) over 7 years.

Participants did not have diabetes or prediabetes at baseline and reported beverage intake via food frequency questionnaires.

After adjusting for multiple variables, including baseline body mass index, age, and sex, sugary beverage intake was associated with prediabetes. Participants who consumed more than 3 servings per week had a 46% increased chance of developing prediabetes than nonconsumers.

Higher sugary beverage intake was also associated with higher increase in HOMA-IR.

However, diet soda consumption was not associated with prediabetes risk or changes in HOMA-IR.

“Regular SSB intake, but not diet soda intake, is associated with a greater increase in insulin resistance and a higher risk of developing prediabetes in a group of middle-aged adults,” the researchers concluded.

—Amanda Balbi


Ma J, Jacques PF, Meigs JB, et al. Sugar-sweetened beverage but not diet soda consumption is positively associated with progression of insulin resistance and prediabetes [published online November 9, 2016]. J Nutr. doi:10.3945/jn.116.234047.