Soft Drinks Associated with Diabetes: Report
NEW YORK: A review of published studies shows a clear and consistent
relationship between drinking sugary (non-diet) soft drinks and poor
nutrition, increased risk for obesity — and increased risk for diabetes.
There is no denying that sugar-loaded soft drinks are having "a negative
impact on health," Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for
Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut,
Having analysed and reviewed 88 studies on the issue, Brownell and
his colleagues conclude that recommendations to curb soft drink consumption
on a population level are strongly supported by the available scientific
Results of a study of more than 91,000 women followed for 8 years
provides one of the "most striking" links between soft drinks and
health outcomes, the investigators note in the American Journal of
In the study, women who drank one or more sodas per day — an amount
less than the US national average — were twice as likely as those
who drank less than one soda per month to develop diabetes over the
course of the study.
When diet soda replaced regular soda in the analysis, there was no
increased risk, "suggesting that the risk was specific to sugar-sweetened
soft drinks," note the authors.
"This result alone," they assert, "warrants serious concern about
soft drink intake, particularly in light of the unprecedented rise
in type 2 diabetes in children."
The data reviewed by Brownell's team also show that higher intake
of sugary sodas goes hand-in-hand with lower intake of milk, calcium
and other essential nutrients, fruit and fiber, and higher intake
Furthermore, there was a "remarkable difference" in results from industry-funded
and non-industry-funded studies on soft drink consumption and health
outcomes, Brownell said, "with the industry-funded studies much more
likely to find the results favourable to industry."
"The bigger issue here, in this arena in particular but in science
in general," Brownell said, "is how you can get a distorted view of
reality if industry-funded studies are considered in the mix — and
usually they are — especially, when industry uses these studies in
advertising, lobbying, and in talking to the press."
When it comes to soft drink consumption among America's youth, Brownell
added, "the decisions parents make are one thing, but the relentless
marketing to children is another." He supports the growing trend toward
banning soda sales in schools.
"I believe schools should be a commercial-free zone and that beverages
that are contributing to ill health should not be sold there," Brownell
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