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‘Sugar-free’ and ‘diet’ sodas linked to diabetes: Study

By Nathan Gray+, 21-Feb-2013

Related topics: Science & Nutrition

Consumption of ‘light’ or ‘diet’ sodas may be linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabtes, according to new research.

The prospective study followed more than 65,000 European women for over 14 years, tracking their consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened (or sugar free) sodas and juices.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research finds that a higher than average intake of both sugar-sweetened and sugar free sodas is linked to an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes.

However, rather surprisingly, the authors also found that those consuming diet soda had an even higher incidence than those drinking ‘regular’ sugar sweetened soda.

Led by Françoise Clavel-Chapelon from France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research, the research team said they cannot currently rule out the possibility that factors other than artificially sweetened beverages consumption, “that we did not control for” are responsible for the association with diabetes.

“Randomized trials are required to prove a causal link between artificially sweetened beverages consumption and type 2 diabetes,” they said.

Study details

The research tracked 66,118 women for more than 14 years, assessing their beverage habits using self-reported questionnaires that monitored consumption of 100% juice, sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially sweetened drinks.

By the end of the study period, 1,369 of the women were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the researchers revealed.

Clavel-Chapelon and his team revealed that both diet and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was linked with a higher risk of developing diabetes.

However, when comparing diabetes risk between the diet soda drinkers and regular soda drinkers, the diet drinkers had an even higher risk, they said.

Meanwhile, the women who only reported drinking 100% juice did not have an increased risk of diabetes.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.112.050997
“Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes in the Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de l'Education Nationale–European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort”
Authors: Guy Fagherazzi, Alice Vilier, Daniela Saes Sartorelli, Martin Lajous, Beverley Balkau, Françoise Clavel-Chapelon