Drinking diet drinks daily doubles your risk of developing diabetes, researchers claim.
From an analysis of more than 2,800 adults, researchers found that the consumption of at least two 200-milliliter sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was linked to a twofold greater risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as a form of type 1 diabetes known as latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA).
Lead study author Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and colleagues publish their findings in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
One reason for this is that sugary drinks can overwhelm the liver and pancreas and trigger insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes. It is also thought that artificial sweeteners may also affect insulin levels in the body in addition to other effects on metabolism.
Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, lead author of the study, stated: “In this study we were surprised by the increased risk in developing autoimmune diabetes by drinking soft drinks.
The increased risk remained similar whether or not the drinks were sugary or diet drinks with artificial sweeteners.
Research revealed that the artificial sweeteners in the diet drinks could stimulate and distort appetite, thus, increasing food intake, and encouraging a sweet tooth. Sweeteners may also affect microbes in the gut leading to glucose intolerance.
Prof Christine Williams, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Reading, said “Even when the findings were adjusted to account for other factors that could explain the findings, such as greater energy intake, higher BMI or poor diet, the risks remained significantly higher for the higher intake groups.
“A most interesting finding was that the higher risk was the same for both sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages, suggesting that greater risk of diabetes was not directly related to higher calorie intake, or adverse metabolic effects of sugar (in the form of sucrose) from the sweetened drinks.”