Easing Diabetes Risk, One Beverage at a TimeBy Nicholas Bakalar
Substituting just one serving a day of water or unsweetened tea or coffee for one serving of a sugar-sweetened soft drink or dairy beverage can significantly reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, a new study has found.
The study, in Diabetologia, used data on diet and diabetes incidence from more than 25,000 British men and women ages 40 to 79. Researchers tracked consumption of soft drinks, tea and coffee, fruit juice and sweetened milk drinks like hot chocolate and milkshakes.
Almost everyone habitually drank something sweet, usually soft drinks or sweetened tea or coffee. After adjusting for body mass index, calorie intake and a range of diet, behavioral and socioeconomic factors, the researchers found that one serving per day of either a soft drink or sweetened milk drink increased the risk of diabetes by 14 percent to 27 percent.
Each additional 5 percent of total calories consisting of sweetened drinks raised the risk of diabetes by 18 percent. Drinking sweetened tea or coffee did not change the risk for diabetes, and consuming those beverages without sugar lowered the risk. After an adjustment for all the variables, fruit juice had no effect on the risk of diabetes.
“We hear a lot about the bad health effects of these drinks,” said the senior author, Dr. Nita G. Forouhi of the University of Cambridge. “We usually give the bad news, but here we have some solutions for what good replacement drinks are: water and unsweetened tea and coffee.”