Individuals who regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, colas and other carbonated beverages, and non-carbonated fruit drinks such as lemonade and fruit punch, may be at an higher risk of developing prediabetes, new research has revealed.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes. If diagnosed early, it is reversible through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
“Our results suggest that high sugar-sweetened beverage intake increases the chances of developing early warning signs for Type 2 diabetes,” said Nicola McKeown, Associate Professor at the Tufts University, Massachusetts in the US.
“If lifestyle changes are not made, individuals with prediabetes are on the trajectory to developing diabetes,” McKeown added.
The findings showed that adults who drink a can of soda per day or a median of six 12 fluid ounce servings a week are at 46 per cent higher risk of developing prediabetes.
Further, the highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages had nearly eight per cent higher insulin resistance scores, compared to low- or non-consumers.
On the other hand, diet soda — defined as low-calorie cola or other carbonated low-calorie beverages — intake was found with no associations with risk for either prediabetes or insulin resistance, the study said.
However, and further studies are needed to reveal the long-term health impact of artificially sweetened drinks, the researchers noted.
Intake of sugar-sweetened beverage should be limited, or replaced with healthier alternatives such as water or unsweetened coffee or tea, McKeown recommended.
For the study, the researchers analysed 1,685 middle-aged adults over a period of 14 years, who did not have diabetes or prediabetes during an initial baseline examination.
The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.