If you’re still clinging to even one soda pop per day despite all odds, new research has just given you one more reason to can it once and for all.

That’s because striking new data has linked sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks directly with increased cases of Type 2 Diabetes.

It’s already common knowledge that sugary drinks can contribute to weight gain. It’s also well known that overweight individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life. 

This logic leaves some open holes though. If you’re lean and fit, you may think the risks don’t apply to you. As long as your body is burning off the extra calories, why be concerned?

That’s about to change.

A team of experts from the University of Cambridge has just released the results of a brand new study that showed a 13% increased risk of diabetes directly linked with the intake of at least 1 sugary beverage per day.

That’s a direct link, with weight calculated out of the equation. So regardless whether you’ve got a few extra pounds or you’re thin as a rail – averaging at least 1 sugary drink per day is giving you a 1 in 8 chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Those may be better odds than you’ll get playing Russian roulette – but not by much. 

The Cambridge team achieved these results by first collecting the research data from 17 previous studies and pouring everything into their own equation. The raw numbers showed an 18% increased rate of Type 2 Diabetes in those people who drank 1 or more sugary beverages per day. That’s a 1 in 6 relationship. 

Then, they adjusted their findings for study subject adiposity – the medical term for the condition of being obese. The final results were only 5% lower, coming in at 13%.

To be perfectly clear – this included any sort of sugar-sweetened beverage – from Cola to Coffee. 

 

Artificial Sweeteners to the Rescue?

If you’re hoping that none of this applies to you because you’ve switched to “diet” drinks, artificial sweetener packets or other drinks marked as low-calorie options, you’ll want to hold off celebrating just yet.

The study team went ahead and ran the same data for subjects who drank at least 1 artificially sweetened beverage per day, too. After adjusting for adiposity, the direct link between artificially sweetened drinks and Type 2 Diabetes weighed in at 8% increased risk. 

That’s a 1 in 13 chance – again, regardless of whether you’re significantly overweight or in perfect shape. If you make a habit of drinking 1 or more artificially sweetened beverages per day, your chances of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are 8% higher. 

 

So… Fruit Juice to the Rescue? Maybe?

Sorry, no. Fruit juice may be one of the most health-conscious options available, but most fruit juices have added sugars or artificial sweeteners – and those that don’t are typically high in natural sugar content. 

The Cambridge research team checked into it, and found a 5% increased risk associated with drinking fruit juices daily – however these results were not especially clear due to limited data.

When it comes down to it, eating fruit naturally is a far better choice. You will get a lot more flavor from less content, and you’ll also benefit from the natural vitamins, minerals and nutrients lost in the pulp after squeezing.

 

Type 2 Diabetes on the International Venue

In 2014, it was estimated that 9% of adults 18 or older were diabetic – worldwide. In 2012 alone, it was estimated that 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes.

According to the Cambridge team study findings, “over 10 years, two million type 2 diabetes events in the USA and 80,000 in the UK would be related to consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.”

Keep in mind that Type 2 Diabetes can be delayed or prevented altogether with simple lifestyle changes.

The World Health Organization recommends maintaining a healthy body weight, performing at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, eating a healthy diet of between 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, and reducing the intake of sugar and saturated fats.

This has also been noted by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, which echoes that a combination of a healthy diet and physical activity can greatly decrease your risks of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life – as well as help in controlling its’ symptoms early on in the progression of the disease.

 

The Time to Act is Now!

For most people, sugar is one of the hardest things to get away from. It’s added to nearly everything, and it can produce the same addictive responses in the body as tobacco or illicit drugs. There’s no doubt about it – eliminating all unnecessary sugar from your diet can be a difficult task.

It is more clear than ever before however, that the payoffs are more than worth it!