Put down that sugary soda. It could be deadly, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes.
A nearly two-decade-long study linked high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages — soda, lemonade and fruit punch — with premature death in people with type 2 diabetes. The link was found for both heart-related reasons and all causes.
But other beverages — specifically coffee, tea, low-fat milk and plain water — helped lower the odds of early death.
These findings point to the potential role of healthy drinks for folks with type 2 diabetes, the study concluded.
“Beverages can be a source of sugar, but also could be an important source of other dietary constituents, so it is natural to hypothesize that the different beverages may really have different effects on health among diabetes patients,” says study co-author Dr. Qi Sun, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He notes that there was little existing evidence about the impact of beverages on type 2 diabetes-related death.
Data from the study came from more than 9,200 women and more than 3,500 men who were part of other major research projects. All had diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the 18.5-year study period.
Every two to four years, they reported how often they consumed sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages, as well as juice, coffee, tea, water and low-fat milk.
Each additional daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage was associated with an eight percent uptick in death from all causes for people with type 2 diabetes. Replacing that drink with one of the healthy options lowered the risk of early death by 18 percent.
The study does not prove that unhealthy drinking habits cause early death, only that there is an association between the two.
In 2021, an estimated 537 million adults worldwide had type 2 diabetes. That number is projected to reach