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Diabetes Health Center

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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.

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