Drinking water

Drink to down diabetes

Diabetes is a growing problem and one of the simple reasons behind the diabetes surge is the enormous amount of sweetened food and drink that we consume. A little culinary sweetness is not a disaster but as a new study has shown, when your sweet consumption becomes habitual you are well and truly on the way to type 2 diabetes.

The research was based on data gathered from more than 25,000 men and women aged 40 to 79 living in Norfolk in the UK. The participants recorded everything that they ate or drank for seven consecutive days. The subjects were then followed for 11 years to see what health outcomes they achieved and the results were revealing.

It was found that if a participant replaced one serving per day of soft drink with a serving of water or unsweetened tea or coffee then it cut risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 per cent. Replacing a daily drink of sweetened milk would yield even greater benefits in reducing diabetes risk by 20-25 per cent. However, consuming any artificially sweetened drink to replace a sugar-sweetened drink did not reduce diabetes risk.

They also found that every 5 per cent increase in total energy consumption as a proportion of total energy intake from sweet drinks (soft drinks, sweetened milk, sweetened tea, or sweetened coffee) was linked to an 18 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes. Based on this the authors estimate that if people reduced energy consumed from sweetened drinks by 10, 5, or 2 per cent then the risk of diabetes would be reduced 15, 7, or 3 per cent respectively.

In all there was a 22 per cent increase in risk of developing diabetes for every habitually consumed daily serve of soft drink, sweetened milk, or artificially sweetened drink. These links remained for soft drinks and sweetened milk, but not artificially sweetened drinks, even when body mass index and obesity were allowed for.

The key here is the word “habitually” so the odd sweetened drink here and there is not an issue. It is an encouraging thought that simply swapping a daily fizz for a glass of water could so dramatically reduce your risks of such a burgeoning health challenge.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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