Study: Soda per Day May Up Prediabetes Risk—Unless It’s Diet

Soda drinkers may be up to 46 percent more likely to develop prediabetes.

A new study from Tufts emphasizes just how important it is to cut soda from your diet. If you regularly drink sugary beverages, it says, you may be up to 46 percent more likely to develop prediabetes than occasional or non-soda drinkers.

The results suggest that high consumption of sugary drinks—about one can of soda per day, or a similar amount of fruit punch, lemonade, or other beverages–is related to heightened risk of prediabetes and increased insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

“If lifestyle changes are not made, individuals with prediabetes are on the trajectory to developing diabetes,” Nicola McKeown, a senior author of the study, said in a statement.

Diet soda, however, did not seem to have the same effect. Researchers did not find any link between diet soda consumption and risk of prediabetes or increased insulin resistance. Previous studies focused on diet soda and type 2 diabetes, however, have yielded mixed results, and more research is needed.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, followed 1,685 adult Americans, mostly middle-aged white women, for 14 years. It was led by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

“Our findings support recommendations to limit sugar-sweetened beverage intake, which can be achieved by replacing sugary beverages with healthier alternatives such as water or unsweetened coffee or tea,” McKeown said in the statement. “This is a simple dietary modification that could be of substantial health benefit to people who consume sugary drinks daily and who are at increased risk of diabetes.”