For decades, the average American consumed terrifying quantities of sugar in the form of soda, sugary beverages, artificially-sweetened foods, pastries, baked goods, and the list goes on. Thankfully, in the last few years, steps have been taken to curb sugar intake, due to a greater understanding of just how harmful sugar can be. However, every month new studies are finding more ways that sugar can be detrimental to your health.
One new study out of Tufts University brings that point home very clearly. According to an analysis of data collected over 14 years, drinking just one can of soda per day is enough to raise your risk of prediabetes by 46%. The researchers examined data from 1,685 middle-aged adults, monitoring their lifestyle and diet habits as well as their health. All of the participants were free of both prediabetes and diabetes at the onset of the study. Over the 14 years, they self-reported their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (colas, carbonated beverages, fruit punch, non-carbonated sugary drinks, and lemonade) and diet sodas.
The researchers found that people who drank just six 12-fluid ounce servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per week (less than one serving per day) had a 46% higher risk of developing prediabetes than those who didn’t drink or drank very little sugar-beverages.
Those who drank more sugary beverages had up to 8% higher insulin resistance scores than those who drank less. The correlation between sugary beverages and prediabetes could not be clearer.
An interesting side note: diet sodas didn’t increase either prediabetes risk or insulin resistance. However, more than enough studies have proven that the chemicals in diet sodas bring their own unique set of dangers. Suffice it to say, diet sodas are not a safe or healthy alternative to soda.
The truth is that soda—and all sugar-rich beverages, for that matter—are a very serious danger to your health. While this study looked at the effect of sweetened beverages on prediabetes, high sugar intake can lead to a wide range of problems: obesity, metabolic disease, organ stress, oxidative damage, a higher cancer risk, and many, many more.
If you want to live a long, healthy life, it’s time to say goodbye to sugar-sweetened beverages. Anything made with refined sugar has to go, and that includes lemonades, pre-sweetened iced teas, soda, colas, fruit punch, and pretty much anything you don’t make yourself. Stick with home-brewed iced tea and coffee, water, and homemade fruit juice. Most store-bought fruit juices (even the 100% ones) have more sugar than is healthy. Sticking with low-sugar beverages is the best way to clean up your eating habits and reduce your risk of a wide range of health problems.
1. Ma et al. “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage but Not Diet Soda Consumption Is Positively Associated with Progression of Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes“. J. Nutrition, 2016; 146:1-7 DOI: 10.3945/jn.116.234047.