Cut your diabetes risk by 83 percent by choosing the right beverages

Cut your diabetes risk by 83 percent by choosing the right beverages

And now for more inane and superfluous news, hot off the press of the American Medical Association: Women who drink higher amounts of sugar-sweetened drinks are more likely to gain weight and develop Type II diabetes, “new” research tells us. New? Seems to me I learned that 40 years ago.

The study supposedly adds “new fuel to the debate” on the sources of weight gain and their ultimate impact on the ever-growing diabetes epidemic. I don’t see any “new fuel” here but some of the “old fuel” bears further inspection since Type II diabetes and its “partner,” obesity are having a bull run.

Reuters Health reports: “According to the study authors, soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the U.S. diet. Moreover, the increase in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity has coincided with a 61 percent increase in the consumption of soft drinks by adults, and a doubling in consumption by children and adolescents between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s.”

Don’t fall for diet

Of course, true to AMA form, they went off on a tangent that had nothing to do with the rest of the study (but undoubtedly distracted enough “experts” to take the heat off sugar for a minute). In this study, women who drank high levels of sugar-sweetened soft drinks “also smoked more, were less physically active, and had lower intakes of fiber and magnesium.” Ah ha, now we’re getting to the bottom of things: How do you measure all that? You do it by interviewing the patient, which is known to be notoriously inaccurate and worthless. And before I forget to ask, what does smoking have to do with diabetes and obesity? The experts are saying that obesity causes diabetes. Well since smoking prevents weight gain, then how can it cause diabetes? But back to the real issue.

“Even after adjusting for other factors, women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day had an 83 percent increased risk of developing diabetes compared to those who drank less than one per month. Diet cola and fruit juice were not associated with Type II diabetes.” This report on diet cola is misleading and dangerous. The artificial sweetener in “diet” drinks has been accused of its own misdeeds including weight gain and Parkinson’s disease.

The right treatment makes all the difference

There is a commonly held belief among nutritionists and medical scientists that fatness is a causative factor in the onset of diabetes. I’m not so sure, but Doctor JoAnn Manson, a study co-author and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, remarked: “High-fructose corn syrup leads to fast and dramatic rises in glucose and insulin levels, and that can lead to insulin resistance and the development of Type II diabetes.”

“About half of the increase in the risk of Type II diabetes is due to the weight gain that occurs with sugar-sweetened beverages, but the other half may be related to the fact that these sugars are rapidly absorbable,” said Dr. Manson.

As I mentioned above, I don’t necessarily agree that fatness by itself leads to diabetes. But there is an important message here that I will put in terms everyone can understand.

The rapid increase in blood sugar as a result of drinking a massive dose of corn syrup (the main sweetener in soda) leads to a rapid increase of the insulin secreted by the pancreas into the blood. Ordinarily, insulin will metabolize the extra sugar, bringing the blood sugar level back to normal. But if you keep drinking the stuff and placing constant demands on the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas, eventually the insulin just doesn’t work anymore.

Action to take:

Some doctors (those so-called experts again) “treat” this problem by having the patient give himself insulin shots. But adding more insulin to insulin-saturated blood will not solve the problem. The only solution is to eliminate sugar and sugar-forming foods-starches. That’s right, not just cut back on them, but stop eating them altogether. Sugary drinks are a good place to start, but that’s all it is-a start.


Sugar-sweetened soft drinks, obesity, and type 2 diabetes,” JAMA 2004; 292(8): 978-979