Soda drinkers are 22% more likely to develop diabetes

Even soda lovers who remain thin have a higher diabetes risk

People who drink one serving of sugary soda per day are 22% more likely to develop diabetes than people who consume one serving or less per month, according to a study published Wednesday in Diabetologia.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London collected data on 350,000 individuals from eight countries in Europe: Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

The participants were asked how often they drank juices, nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and artificially sweetened drinks. A beverage serving was considered 12 fluid ounces. The participants also reported their food and energy intake.

Once the researchers accounted for confounding factors, they found that a single serving of sugar-sweetened soda per day increased the risk of developing diabetes by 18%.

The findings come as diabetes diagnoses worldwide have soared. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes is expected to double to 552 million by 2030.

Patrick Wolfe, a statistics expert with University College London who was not involved in the study, in an email said, "The bottom line is that sugary soft drinks are not good for you—they have no nutritional value and there is evidence that drinking them every day can increase your relative risk for type 2 diabetes."

Dora Romaguera, lead author of the study, said most people "are not really aware of the dangers of these drinks," adding that individuals "may remain thin and still have a higher risk of developing diabetes" (Torsoli, Bloomberg, 4/24; Petrochko, MedPage Today, 4/24; Kelland, Reuters, 4/25).

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