The jury is very much in on the correlative danger associated with sweetened beverage consumption, which means research can take a proper look at the alternatives. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes down to procuring a varied Rolodex of ways to curb harmful vices. Thankfully a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care intends to fatten our list of sweetened beverage surrogates by illuminating the consequences of failing to deny our gluttonous compulsions.
A nutritional rogue’s gallery
The study derived its data from the 160,000 women that participated in editions of the Nurses’ Health Study, alongside the roughly 35,000 men that participated in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study. The subjects were administered with dietary questioners in four-year increments over the course of 26 years. In this time, the researchers were kept up to speed on every aspect of the participants’ lifestyles in addition to any relevant changes; everything from weight, amount of physical activity and whether or not they developed Type 2 Diabetes.
The authors report, “After adjustment for BMI and initial and changes in diet and lifestyle covariates, increasing total sugary beverage intake (including both sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices) by >0.50 serving/day over a four-year period was associated with a 16% higher diabetes risk in the subsequent four years.”
That bit likely shook out like you might have imagined. Indeed, the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with both excessive weight gain and increased instances of Type 2 Diabetes. What was surprising, however, was how these beverages impacted the development of Type 2 Diabetes independent of weight gain.
Half a serving of artificially sweetened beverages a day increased one’s risk of developing the disease by 18%. Conversely replacing just one soda a day with an unsweetened option decreased an individual’s risk for developing diabetes by 10% (ideally water but even coffee honored this projection.) Shockingly, weight gain only accounted for 28% of the sweet beverage diabetes risk relationship. There are a freshet of things to consider of course when accounting for somatic maladies, but diet yet again declares itself to be chief amongst them.
“The study provides further evidence demonstrating the health benefits associated with decreasing sugary beverage consumption and replacing these drinks with healthier alternatives like water, coffee, or tea,” explained lead author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition to Eureka alert.
We tend to hold a pinched appreciation for what qualifies as a worthy liquid refreshment, dismissing the field’s admirable strides. There’s a surplus of palatable and healthy teas alone, saying nothing of fruit and herb infusions, Kombucha and the innumerable flash in the pan rifts on mineral water. Hopefully, the results of this new study will position the proceeding editions more favorably in the public’s eye.