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New research claims link between sugary drinks and Type 2 diabetes

Researchers claim that drinking sugary drinks could increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Scientists looked at the link between weight gain, sugary drinks and Type 2 diabetes in 43,960 African American women.

The women completed a questionnaire about the types of drinks they consumed in 1995 and again in 2001. During the ten year follow-up period, 2,713 women developed Type 2 diabetes. Those who drank more non-diet soft drinks and fruit drinks (not including diet drinks, orange juice or grapefruit juice) were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who drank less.

Women who drank two or more soft drinks per day had a 24 per cent increase in diabetes risk compared with women who drank less than one soft drink per month, and those who drank two or more fruit drinks per day had a 31 per cent increased risk compared with women who drank less than one per month. Diet soft drinks, grapefruit juice and orange juice were not associated with diabetes risk.

Diabetes UK's response to the findings

"It is very unlikely that drinking more sugary drinks alone increases the risk of developing diabetes," said Jemma Edwards, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.

"However, consuming them could lead to weight gain and we know that being over-weight is a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes. Other factors include a lack of physical activity and a family history of diabetes.

“This research was carried out on black women only and we already know that people of black or South Asian origin are four to five times more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than the general population.

“Diabetes UK recommends a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat, salt and sugar, and includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.”  

The study was carried out at the Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University.

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