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Researchers issue diabetes alert over sugary drinks

By Jennifer Cockerell

Sugary drinks could be causing nearly 8,000 cases of type 2 diabetes a year, according to research. A study led by the University of Cambridge found sugar-sweetened drinks could give rise to 1.8 million diabetes cases over 10 years in the United States and 79,000 in the UK.

Academics analysed studies carried out in both the US and UK as they had the most data available, and found sugar-sweetened beverages were consumed by 54.4% and 49.4% of people in each country respectively.

They concluded that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to 2-6% of type 2 diabetes cases in the UK, and 4-13% in the US.

Sugar-sweetened beverages were defined as any sweetened drink, including sugar-sweetened fruit juice, not presented as diet or non-caloric beverages.

Artificially sweetened beverages included low-calorific soft drinks, while juice was defined as 100% fruit juice, or fruit juice assessed separately from fruit drinks.

The study, which is published in the British Medical Journal, pointed out that the studies analysed were observational, so no definitive conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect.

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