Drinking Two Sweetened Drinks Per Day Increases Diabetes Risk
As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” New research now proves that you’re also what you drink. Unfortunately, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who enjoys sugary beverages on a regular basis, you’re putting yourself at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking two sweetened beverages per day nearly doubles your risk for this deadly disease – and it doesn’t matter if those drinks are sweetened with sugar or an artificial sweetener such as aspartame.
How Much Is Too Much?
In the study, researchers found that consuming two or more 200-milliliter sweetened drinks per day lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Given that a standard can of soda is 12 ounces or 300 milliliters, this means that drinking just one and a half of these drinks every day puts you in the danger zone.
If you like to indulge, even more, the bad news is that your risk increases proportionally. Drinking more than five servings of sweetened beverages resulted in 10 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While two sweetened beverages might not seem like a lot, the maximum amount of added sugars you should consume per day is 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women. One 20-ounce regular soda contains 69 grams of added sugar, or nearly double the recommended daily intake. Even a seemingly healthy drink like apple juice is chock-full of sugar, too – about the equivalent of 10 Oreo cookies worth of added sugar.
Diet Soda and Drinks Are Just as Bad
Unfortunately, getting a fix for your sweet tooth by consuming diet drinks won’t help. The research shows that consuming two drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners also doubled the risk of developing diabetes.
The connection between consuming diet drinks and the increased risk of developing diabetes was not immediately clear. Researchers suggest that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages may do so because they are dieting, which indicates that they may have other risk factors for developing diabetes, such as obesity. Additional research shows that drinking diet beverages may also increase sugar cravings, which leads to overeating.
The Danger of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes puts you at greater risk for diseases and health problems, including:
- Heart problems, including coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Nerve damage that leads to tingling, numbness and burning in the extremities.
- Kidney damage or disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage and other problems with vision, including cataracts and glaucoma.
- Foot problems, including sores that won’t heal.
- Skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections.
How to Reduce Your Risk
If you drink soda or other sweetened beverages, the obvious takeaway from this study is to stop or cut back to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have other common risk factors for the disease, there are additional tactics you can try. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese, and increase the amount you exercise gradually to the recommended 150 minutes per week. Eat nutritious food like fruits, vegetables, and whole foods while avoiding processed foods and added sugars.
Most importantly, see your doctor for regular checkups, which can help identify your risk factors and potential health problems before they become dangerous.