We hear so much these days about the harmful health effects of sugar that you would think that something that doesn’t contain sugar has to be OK for your health. But, it now appears that even diet sodas increase the risk of diabetes.
A long-term study on 66,000 French women followed for 14 years discovered that the risk of diabetes was higher in those women who consumed diet soda or regular soda as opposed to those women who consumed fruit juice. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The increased risk of diabetes was dependent on how much soda was consumed. Women who drank 12 ounces of either soda per week had a one-third increased risk of diabetes compared to the juice drinkers. But, that risk doubled for diabetes in women who drank 20 ounces of either soda per week.
These findings are concerning because of the people I know that consume soda most consume far more than 12 to 20 ounces a week.
So it does not appear to take much soda consumption to increase the risk of diabetes. Most Americans consume these volumes or more of soda a day. Is it any wonder that we have a diabetes epidemic in our country?
The study also compared the fruit juice drinkers to non-consumers of fruit juice and there was no additional increase in diabetes in the fruit juice drinkers.
The investigators did not offer a theory or reason why soda raised the risk of diabetes compared to fruit juice which contains sugar naturally, but previous studies suggest that aspartame causes elevations in blood glucose and insulin levels similar to sucrose used in regular soda. This may lead to insulin resistance over time.
Why Do Sodas Increase the Risk of Diabetes?
The researchers did not go so far as to say there was a cause and effect relationship and could not exclude that there may be some other ingredient in sodas that might be responsible for the increased risk in diabetes.
Whether it’s the artificial sweeteners, sucrose, or some other ingredient that is responsible for increasing the risk of diabetes is somewhat irrelevant. It appears clear from this large study that natural drinks are healthier than man-made ones.
The most interesting man in the world advises us to “stay thirsty my friend”. Perhaps he should add “stay natural my friend”!