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Non-diet Soft Drinks Are Unhealthy - 2004-09-07


Most Americans love to drink soda. In fact, non-diet soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. But a new study shows that women who drink sugar-sweetened beverages daily are much more likely to gain weight and to develop diabetes.

Women who were drinking sugar sweetened soft drinks every day or more than once a day had an 80-percent increase in risk of diabetes compared with women who hardly ever drank sugared sodas.

Dr. Meir (Mare) Stampfer and his colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston reviewed data from a national survey called "The Nurses Health Study." The researchers focused on beverage-drinking and diabetes data from about 50-thousand women, surveyed from 1991 to 1999. Dr. Stampfer says there's a specific reason why non-diet soda and fruit punch lead to weight gain, a major cause of diabetes. Sugar-sweetened drinks are high in calories, but don't cause a feeling of fullness.

It's easier to gain weight when you're taking in more calories from drinks than it is from food.

The sugared soft-drinks are very rapidly absorbed and they cause a sharp up-swing in blood sugar, which causes a sharp increase in insulin production, and then this causes the blood sugar to go down.

He calls that cycle a recipe for diabetes - a potentially devastating disease.

If you're taking in calories, especially calories in the form of sugared soft drinks that have no other nutrient value, it's not at all surprising that you'd see weight gain."

And weight gain can lead to diabetes. The solution? Drink mostly water.

The researchers found that diet soda and real fruit juice did NOT cause an increased risk of diabetes. For more information, visit www.jama.com.

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