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Diet Dos, Don'ts to Cut Diabetes Risk

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

Increased Risk With Sugary Drinks? continued...

The researchers, who included Julie Palmer, ScD, of Boston University, note that sweetened fruit drinks "are often marketed as a healthier alternative to soft drinks" but may have at least as many calories as a regular soda.

Diet sodas, orange juice, and grapefruit juice weren't linked to increased risk of diabetes. It's possible that the natural sugars contained in orange and grapefruit juice may have different metabolic effects than the high-fructose corn syrup that is added to regular sodas and most sweetened beverages.

Beverage Industry Reaction

WebMD contacted the American Beverage Association, the trade group representing companies that make and distribute nonalcoholic beverages in the U.S, for its response to the study.

"We agree that type 2 diabetes is an important public health problem, particularly among African- American women, but it is important to recognize that beverage consumption is not an identified risk factor for the disease," says Maureen Storey, PhD, the American Beverage Association's senior vice president for science policy.

Storey points out that the study recommends that women trying to lose weight may find it easier to do so if they switch from regular sodas to diet sodas. She also notes that the study's link between fruit-drink consumption and type 2 diabetes "is very weak or nonexistent. Therefore, avoiding these drinks may have no effect on diabetes risk."
Lastly, Storey says it's not clear whether the researchers controlled for total energy intake -- the total number of calories the women consumed from all sources. An imbalance between energy intake (calories consumed) and energy output (calories burned) can lead to weight gain over time, "and that, aside from family history, is the most important factor in development of type 2 diabetes," says Storey.

Fruits and Vegetables May Cut Diabetes Risk

Eating more fruits and vegetables may cut diabetes risk, according to another study in the journal.

The study included nearly 22,000 adults in Norfolk, England. When the study started, they got a checkup, provided blood samples, and completed a diet and lifestyle survey.

Over the next 12 years, 735 of the participants developed diabetes.

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