Healthiest Way to Loss Weight: Switch From Soda to Water?

Type 2 diabetes risk
Earlier studies have linked daily soda drinking to many health risks—and especially to type 2 diabetes.

Daily drinkers of one to two soft drinks were found to be 25 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 20 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome—a gateway condition to diabetes—than were people who drank one or fewer sodas per month.

This were the findings of a 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health lead by Dr. Vasanti Malik, a research fellow in that institution’s Department of Nutrition.

The study also found that people who drank other sugar-sweetened beverages daily—such as vitamin water, energy drinks, iced tea and fruit drinks—also had the same risks for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The findings were reported in the November 1 Diabetes Care issue.

The Harvard study was a meta-analysis or analysis of 11 previous studies involved data from 310,819 patients whose intake of sugary drinks was assessed through questionnaires.

The strongest link was found in one study—the largest diabetes study so far that followed more than 91,000 American women, 24 to 44 years old, for eight years.

Even after researchers of that study adjusted the data for weight gain, they still found the link between diabetes and sugary drinks was still strong.

Diet drinks are just as bad
Recent findings from researchers of the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and the Columbia University Medical Center have tagged diet drinks as just as bad for health.

A new study published in the Jan. 26 Journal of General Internal Medicine found that people who drank diet soft drinks every day had an increased risk of experiencing strokes and heart attacks—and even death from these conditions.

This study involved combing through the data of 2,564 participants in the Northern Manhattan Study, a study designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors and prognosis in a multiethnic urban population. Researchers then analyzed the relationship heart disease and both diet and regular soft drink consumption.

The researchers studied the relationship between how often participants drank soft drinks, whether these were diet or regular and the number of strokes, heart attacks and heart-disease related deaths that occurred among the participants—all across a 10-year period.

The researchers found that people who drank diet soft drinks everyday were 43 percent more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack—or even die of heart disease—than those who did not drink diet soda.

The researchers took into account pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure when they made their conclusions. Diet soda has been linked with a higher risk of stroke and heart attack by many previous studies.

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