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Sugary Sodas Add Pounds, Raise Diabetes Risk

1 or More Sodas a Day Tied to Weight Gain and Type 2 Diabetes in Women
WebMD Health News

June 7, 2004 -- Adding more sugary sodas to your daily diet may not only pack on the pounds, it may also raise the risk of type 2 diabetes.

A new study shows that women who went from drinking less than one non-diet soda a day to one or more sodas a day gained more weight and were nearly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes over a four-year period than women who drank less than one soft drink a day.

Researchers say the extra pounds and increased diabetes risk associated with sugar-sweetened sodas remained significant regardless of other diet and lifestyle factors.

Sugared Sodas Raise Diabetes, Obesity Risks

The study, presented this week at the American Diabetes Association's 64th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., looked at whether sugar-sweetened soda consumption affected weight change or diabetes risk among women enrolled in the large Nurses Health II Study.

The women were between the ages of 26 and 46 when the study began in 1991 and were followed for eight years. All of them were free of diabetes and other major diseases at the start of the study.

Researchers found that over a four-year period, weight gain was highest among women who increased their soda consumption from less than one per week to one or more per day and lowest among those who cut back on sodas. The women who drank more soda gained an average of more than 10 pounds compared with less than three pounds among those who drank less soda.

In addition, the study showed that women who increased their soda intake were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes during the follow-up period compared with those who drank less than one sugar-sweetened soda per day, even after accounting for other risk factors, such as obesity.

"Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks is associated with larger weight gain in women independent of other lifestyle and dietary factors," says researcher Matthias B. Schulze, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues. "High intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks may furthermore increase risk for developing type 2 diabetes, possibly by providing excessive calories and large amounts of readily absorbable sugars."

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