by Kim Mayburn

Zero sugar tolerance

Sugar-free diet drinks could play a role in type 2 diabetes

The sweet debate about sugar
Sugar free drinks could affect more than just your weight

The study involved 66,118 women, whose beverage habits were tracked over 14 years. The women self-reported their consumption of 100 percent juice, sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially sweetened drinks.

By the end of the study period, 1,369 of the women were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that on average, the women consumed more diet drinks than sugar-sweetened drinks – 328 milliliters each week of sugar-sweetened beverages and 568 milliliters each week of artificially sweetened beverages.

Even though both diet and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes, when comparing diabetes risk between the diet soda drinkers and regular soda drinkers, the diet drinkers had an even higher risk of diabetes.

Meanwhile, the women who only reported drinking 100 percent juice did not have an increased risk of diabetes, according to the study.

Of course, it's important to note that the researchers only found an association – it's not known whether the artificial sweeteners in the diet drinks actually cause diabetes, or if people who are already prone to diabetes tend to drink more diet drinks (perhaps in an effort to decrease their sugar intake).

Past research on the subject has been mixed. A study conducted by Harvard University researchers did not find an association between diet soda intake and diabetes risk, instead linking the increased diabetes risk with other factors that might spur someone to drink diet soda in the first place, like being overweight.

But regardless of whether diet sodas really do bring on diabetes or not, maybe we should be cutting back on the beverage for other health reasons. Past studies have linked it with weight gain, and increased risk of stroke and heart attack. 


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