Sugar-sweetened drinks increase type 2 diabetes risk

In recent years, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages - including sodas and sports drinks - has risen sharply. Meanwhile, the increases in obesity and type 2 diabetes rates have followed a similar curve.

Experts believe that the occurrences may be more related than previously thought. A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care has provided solid evidence that the consumption of sugary drinks significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined the results of 11 previous studies that examined the consumption of sodas and sports drinks and diabetes risk. They found that consuming two or more beverages each day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. Additionally, individuals in this category were 20 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

"The association that we observed between soda consumption and risk of diabetes is likely a cause-and-effect relationship because other studies have documented that sugary beverages cause weight gain, and weight gain is closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes," said Frank Hu, who led the study.