Researchers have found that two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a week may increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes while just one is enough to raise blood pressure. “Our analysis revealed that most epidemiological studies strongly show that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension,” said the review’s senior author, M. Faadiel Essop, professor at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The analysis of the review also found a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that raise the chances of developing heart disease. The study was published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.
The authors reviewed 36 studies on the cardiometabolic effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption from the past decade. Since some recent studies reached conflicting findings regarding the relationship between beverage consumption and health conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases, the researchers critically assessed the research landscape for overall trends. Although there were some studies with negative or neutral findings, most of the studies supported a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, the researchers said. Most of the analysed studies looked at individuals who drank more than five sugar-sweetened beverages a week. Studies on diet and diabetes revealed consuming as few as two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a week was linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Several of the analysed studies found drinking at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day was associated with elevated blood pressure. “The findings demonstrate there is a clear need for public education about the harmful effects of excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” Essop noted