Diet Soda and Diabetes: Things to Consider
ISLAMABAD (Online): Diabetes is a condition characterized by high amounts of sugar in the blood. These high blood sugar levels are a result of the body’s inability to either produce or use a hormone called insulin.
Insulin’s role is to move sugar from the blood and into the cells of the body where it is used to make energy.
Diabetes is marked by high blood sugar, known medically as hyperglycemia. As such, drinks which have a lot of sugar in them should be avoided as they cause spikes in blood sugar.
Soda usually contains high amounts of sugar. People with diabetes should avoid drinking them.
There are three major types of diabetes:
In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. There is no direct cause of type 1 diabetes.
Drinking cow’s milk at an early age may also play a role in type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. The body is unable to use insulin fully or make enough of it to keep up with sugar intake.
Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. If the body cannot make enough insulin to carry the sugar to cells to be used or if there is insulin resistance present, the woman may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
One recent study posted in the BMJ found a link between drinking sugary drinks and the risk of type two diabetes.
Another study posted in Diabetes Care found that people who drink 1-2 sugar-sweetened drinks every day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who do not.
Diet soda may not contain sugar but could still be risky for people with diabetes.
While diet soda may be a sugar-free alternative to regular soda, that does not necessarily make it healthier.
It is true that diet sodas do not contain sugars, and have little to no calories. Because of this, diet sodas are thought to help reduce risk or control diabetes symptoms. However, this may not be the case.
A recent study posted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 66,118 women for 14 years, keeping track of the drinks they consumed.
At the end of the study, both sugar-sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages were linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Recent studies have also shed light on strong associations between diet soda and factors that contribute to diabetes. These factors include weight gain and metabolic syndrome.
Obesity is a contributing factor in diabetes. As a result, controlling body weight is an important factor in controlling or avoiding type 2 diabetes.
A study posted in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at long-term effects on waist size in diet soda drinkers. A total of 749 participants over the age of 65 were studied for 9.4 years.
As the number of diet soda drinks increased, so did the waist circumference of participants. Participants who drank diet soda on a daily basis showed more than quadruple the waist gain than those who did not drink it. This shows a long-term link between diet soda consumption and belly fat.