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New Study: Diet Soda May Cause More Diabetes Than Regular Soft Drinks

LES ECHOS (France)


PARIS - A new French study has found that the risk of diabetes may actually increase more with the consumption of diet or light soft drinks than with sugary ones.  

Researchers at  Inserm, the French biomedical and public health research institution, followed the health and consumption habits of 66,188 women since 1993, with the objective to track the link between sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

It was thought that drinking light drinks would reduce the risk of diabetes. But in results presented Thursday in Paris, the study found that the risk of diabetes is actually higher when drinking light drinks than with sugary drinks, French business daily Les Echos reports.

The study, to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that women who consume light drinks have a higher consumption rate than those consuming normal sugary drinks (2.8 glasses/week vs. 1.6 glasses/week in average). Moreover, even when consumed in equal quantities, light drinks are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes: a 15% higher chance for a consumption of 0.5 liters/week and 59% for 1.5 liters/week.

In order to know if the risk is only associated with light drinks, researchers Françoise Clavel-Chapelon and Guy Fagherazzi compared their effects to those produced with pressed fruit juices, but found no direct association with developing the disease.

Fagherazzi said further study is still needed. “We still need a body of evidence," he said, according to Les Echos. "We are not here to say that people need to stop drinking this or this type of drink.”

Among the mechanisms that might explain this phenomenon, they note that sugars contained in sugary drinks cause a spike in insulin and the repetition of such can produce resistance to insulin, an anomaly that causes diabetes. As for aspartame, one of the principal sweeteners used today, it can cause a high glycemic level (spike in blood glucose), and thus an increase in insulin levels, comparable to those caused by sucrose (sugar).

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