Just one sugar-sweetened drink a day ups risk of diabetes
The increased risk of 22 per cent is for each extra 336ml sugar sweetened drink, so would apply to someone who had one drink versus someone who had none, or someone who had two drinks versus someone who had one.
The study by Dora Romaguera, Petra Wark and Teresa Norat, of the Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues was published in the journal Diabetologia and comes from data in the InterAct consortium.
They used data on consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks collected across eight European cohorts participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), covering some 350,000 participants.
The researchers did a study which included 12,403 type 2 diabetes cases and a random sub-cohort of 16,154 identified within EPIC.
They found that, after adjusting for confounding factors, consumption of one 336ml serving size of sugar-sweetened soft drink per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 per cent.
This increased risk fell slightly to 18 per cent when total energy intake and body-mass index (BMI) were accounted for. Both factors are thought to mediate the association between sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption and diabetes incidence.
Researchers also observed a statistically significant increase in type 2 diabetes incidence related to artificially sweetened soft drink consumption, however this significant association disappeared after taking into account the BMI. ` This probably indicates that the association was not causal but driven by the weight of participants. Participants with a higher body weight tend to report higher consumption of artificially sweetened drinks, and more likely to develop diabetes.
Pure fruit juice and nectar consumption was not significantly associated with diabetes incidence, however, it was not possible using the data available to study separately the effect of 100 per cent pure juices from those with added sugars.
Researchers said the increased risk of diabetes among sugar-sweetened soft drink consumers in Europe is similar to that found in a meta-analysis of previous studies conducted mostly in North America.
"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population," Romaguera said.