Swapping one sugary drink a day for water or unsweetened tea could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 per cent, according to new research.
The study, published in Diabetologia, was conducted using food diaries. 25,000 people filled in the diaries.
The study was followed up for 11 years, during which time 847 of the participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When the researchers examined the correlation between the incidences of type 2 diabetes and the consumption of sweetened drinks, they found that everyone who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes consumed at least one.
There was a distinct correlation between the consumption of fizzy soft drinks and sweetened milk drinks, but not drinks with artificial sweeteners, fruit juice, or sweetened tea and coffee.
The research team had analysed the link between sugary drinks and diabetes before, finding that consuming fizzy soft drinks increased the risk of type 2 diabetes. This study is the first to find that replacing one sugary drink a day with unsweetened tea or coffee, or water, could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 per cent.
Moreover, swapping a sweetened milk drink with water or unsweetened tea or coffee could reduce the risk by as much as 25 per cent.
The research potentially offers a simple, viable way for everyone to significantly reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes: drink fewer sugary drinks .
“The good news is that our study provides evidence that replacing a daily serving of a sugary soft drink or sugary milk drink with water or unsweetened tea or coffee can help to cut the risk of diabetes, offering practical suggestions for healthy alternative drinks for the prevention of diabetes,” said lead scientist Nita Forouhi.
The authors wrote: “Our findings suggest that reducing consumption of sweet beverages, in particular soft drinks and sweetened milk beverages, and promoting drinking water and unsweetened tea or coffee as alternatives may help curb the escalating diabetes epidemic.”

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