DRINKING just two cans of fizzy pop a week can increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, scientists warned today.
Researchers uncovered evidence to prove a positive association between sugary drinks and weight gain, plus the eventual risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a cluster of risk factors that raise the chances of developing heart problems and diabetes.
The study suggests drinking two sugar-sweetened drinks a week increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
One is enough to raise blood pressure.
The risks from consuming such drinks also included fat stomachs, high levels of fats in the blood, raised blood pressure and reduced “good” cholesterol levels.
Professor Faadiel Essop, of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, senior author of the study, said: “Excess sugar consumption has surfaced as one of the most prominent global dietary changes during the past few decades and is considered a primary driver of cardiometabolic diseases.”
His team reviewed 36 studies from the past decade of individuals who consumed more than five fizzy drinks a week to assess the cardiometabolic effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.
Although there were some studies with negative or neutral findings, most of the studies supported a link between sugary drinks and the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Studies on diet and diabetes revealed consuming as few as two servings of such drinks a week was linked to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Professor Essop said: “Our analysis revealed that most epidemiological studies strongly show that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.”
The United Nations warned six years ago that noncommunicable diseases pose a greater health risk than infectious diseases and that cardiometabolic conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes cause 19 million deaths a year globally.
About four million people in the UK have diabetes, with 90 per cent suffering from Type 2.
Type 1 is an auto-immune disease which cannot currently be cured.
Type 2 can be avoided by making lifestyle changes such as taking more exercise and eating a healthy diet.
An estimated 549,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but are not aware of it. And experts have warned that Britain is sitting on a diabetes time-bomb.
The number of prescriptions for Type 2 sufferers has risen by a third in five years from 26 million to 35 million.
Tonight Douglas Twenefour, of Diabetes UK, welcomed the study’s findings.
He said: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that has devastating complications, but in the majority of cases its development can be slowed or even prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet.”
Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “This so-called academic has chosen to cherry-pick studies with findings that fit their desired outcome.
“UK sugar intake from soft drinks is down by 17 per cent since 2013.”
The study was published in the Journal Of The Endocrine Society.
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