Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diet Dos, Don'ts to Cut Diabetes Risk

Studies Suggest Eating Fruits, Vegetables and Cutting Down on Sugary Drinks
WebMD Health News

July 28, 2008 -- Diabetes is on the rise in the U.S, and three new studies shed more light on how diet affects your odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

Each study covers a different aspect of diet. Together, the studies show that diabetes risk may rise if you drink too many sodas and sweetened fruit drinks, fall if you eat more fruits and vegetables, and may not be affected by how much fat you eat.

But there's another key theme that runs through the studies: There's no getting around calories. Blow your calorie budget and you'll gain weight, which makes type 2 diabetes more likely.

"Until we have more information, we have to assume that calories trump everything else, and that our No. 1 goal for the reduction of new cases of type 2 diabetes should be to reduce the intake of high-energy, low-benefit foods," especially in young people at high risk of diabetes, write Mark Feinglos, MD, CM, and Susan Totten, RD, from Duke University Medical Center.

Here's a quick look at each of the studies, published with Feinglos and Totten's commentary in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Increased Risk With Sugary Drinks?

Sugary sodas and fruit drinks may be linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes in African- American women, the first study shows.

The study included nearly 44,000 African-American women who were followed from 1995 to 2005. They completed dietary surveys when the study began and again in 2001.

None of the women had diabetes at the study's start; a decade later, the group had reported 2,713 new cases of type 2 diabetes.

Women who drank at least two regular soft drinks per day were 24% more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than women who drank less than one soft drink per month. Weight gain appeared to account for some of the increased risk in soda drinkers.

Women who drank at least two sweetened fruit drinks per day were 31% more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than women who drank less than one sweetened fruit drink per day, the study also states.

1 | 2 | 3

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner