A new Harvard study has found that a woman's risk of developing diabetes greatly increases if she drinks more than one sugar-sweetened soft drink a day.
85% increased risk
The study found that women who drank at least one sugar-sweetened soft drink a day had an 85% increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes than women who drank less soda.
Gained an average of 10 pounds
The women were between the ages of 26 and 46 when the study began in 1991 and were followed for eight years. All of them were free of diabetes and other major diseases at the start of the study.
Researchers found that over a four-year period, weight gain was highest among women who increased their soda consumption from less than one per week to one or more per day and lowest among those who cut back on sodas. The women who drank more soda gained an average of more than 10 pounds compared with less than three pounds among those who drank less soda.
Twice as likely to develop diabetes in follow-up period
In addition, the study showed that women who increased their soda intake were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes during the follow-up period compared with those who drank less than one sugar-sweetened soda per day, even after accounting for other risk factors, such as obesity.
Researchers explained that the large amount of rapidly absorbable sugars in these sodas can contribute to obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.
The findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association's annual scientific meeting.