The Effects of Just One Soda a Day

Drinking just one soda a day can increase your risk of diabetes and therefore heart disease

One Soda per Day Can Increase Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A new study suggests that drinking just one 12-ounce soda a day may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. There is a very strong correlation between cardiovascular disease and diabetes. According to the American Heart Association:

  • Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes. At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke.
  • Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.
  • The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The longitudinal study found that people who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened soda daily were 18 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over a 16-year period compared with those who did not consume soda. People who drank two sodas daily were 18 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who drank one, and those who drank three sodas daily saw the same risk increase compared with those who drank two, and so on.

The results held even after researchers took into account other risk factors for type 2 diabetes such as age, physical activity levels, body mass index (BMI) and total daily calorie intake.

The researchers analyzed information from about 12,000 people who developed Type 2 diabetes between 1991 and 2007, and a randomly selected group of about 15,000 people, most of whom did not develop diabetes. All participants were taking part in a larger study looking into the interaction between diet, environmental factors and the risk of cancer and chronic diseases conducted in eight European countries.

Because the link between sugar-sweetened soda and Type 2 diabetes was independent of BMI (an indicator of obesity level) and calorie intake, this finding suggests that other factors, such as the spike in blood sugar people experience when they drink soda, may play a role in the risk.

Those who consumed diet soda were also at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who drank no soda. However, when the researchers took into account BMI and total energy intake, the increased risk disappeared. This finding suggests that the link between diet soda and diabetes risk was driven by weight: People who are obese, and thus already at risk for type 2 diabetes, tend to report higher consumption of diet drinks.

If you’re a soda drinker day, it’s time to reconsider your beverage of choice. Just one soda a day puts you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and potentially heart disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices is the easiest way to lower that risk.

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