Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of death, including from cardiovascular disease, for those with type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study that was published.
According to the study, those who consumed the most sugar-sweetened beverages had a 20% higher risk of dying.
These findings, according to Dr. Keith Hopkins of Strive Health in Denver, Colorado, “confirm what has been known in the field for a long time.”
More research has revealed, according to Hopkins, “that drinking sugary beverages generally shortens your time on earth.”
“Thus, I believe we have understood this in our hearts and minds, but it’s adding more facts, more armament, to getting this information out to our patients.
One sugary beverage each day can significantly raise mortality risk
The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, both of which have been ongoing since the 1980s till 2018, served as the research’s main sources.
15,486 patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in this study, with women making up 73.6% of the total.
The average follow-up period was 18.5 years, with data updates occurring every two to four years via follow-up questionnaires.
Each daily serving of a beverage with added sugar increased a participant’s risk of dying from any cause by, on average, 8%.
Depending on the beverage used in place of the sugar-sweetened beverage, the amount of mortality risk also decreased at varied rates.
- Coffee replaced with a sugary beverage reduced death risk by 26%.
- Tea use reduced mortality risk by 21%.
- Low-fat milk had a 12% mortality risk decrease.
- Plain water had a 23% reduction.
This study demonstrates how hidden sugars in drinks can have an impact on your health, according to Dr. Ana Maria Kausel, an endocrinologist at the telemedicine-based practice Anzara Health.
“Food comes to everyone’s mind first. However, I always, always advise them to focus more on the calories they drink than the calories they consume, according to Kausel.
According to Hopkins, this study demonstrates how diabetes can negatively impact mortality and general health.
“It almost seems like the human body is walking on a precipice. You are at least five feet away from that edge if you do not have diabetes, Hopkins said.
“But if you have diabetes, you’re on the verge of collapsing, and everything you do—smoke, exercise improperly, eat improperly—veers you more and more in that direction.
Therefore, the study demonstrates the need for greater caution when dealing with diabetic patients.
In a related editorial The Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Nita G. Forouhi, PhD, professor and program director, said the study reveals that “choice of beverage clearly matters.”
Although the evidence for artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice is less clear, Forouhi wrote in the editorial, “It is reasonable to shift the focus to beverages that are most likely to have positive health impacts: coffee, tea, plain water, and low-fat milk.
The results of the new study in this patient group are roughly similar to those of past research in the general community, which is an important message because having diabetes does not have to be very restricting.
The “healthy” alcoholic beverages
When individuals switched from sugar-sweetened beverages to artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs), such as low-calorie cola, the study did observe a decrease in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular risk; however, they also observed a decrease when participants converted from ASBs to coffee, tea, or water.
The fact that drinks with high sugar content, such juices and smoothies, are frequently perceived as being intrinsically healthy is one of the problems, according to Kausel, who considers the marketing apparatuses of beverage firms “infinite.”
Options for healthy drinks
According to the American Diabetes Association, water isn’t your only option if you want to reduce the amount of sugar in your beverages.
Their top suggestions for beverages with little to no sugar are as follows:
- Iced tea without sugar
- hot, unsweetened tea