HealthDay News — Consuming just 12 ounces of sweetened soft drink per day significantly increased risk for type 2 diabetes among a cohort of European adults.

Drinking one standard size can of soda was associated with a 22% increased risk for diabetes (95% CI: 1.09-1.83), Dora Romaguera-Bosch, PhD, MSc, of Imperial College London in England, and colleagues from InterAct consortium reported in Diabetologia. This risk jumped to 52% (95% CI: 1.26-1.83) when participants reported drinking an extra can of sweetened beverage each day.

The findings reflect those from prior research that has linked sugary beverage consumption to obesity and diabetes in American populations.

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Romaguera and colleagues conducted a case-cohort study involving 11,684 incident cases of type 2 diabetes and a sub-cohort of 15,374 participants from eight European cohorts in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

They set out to determine the associations between consuming juices, nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drink and the likelihood of developing diabetes.

Study participants answered a dietary questionnaire that inquired about food intake in the year prior to the study, individual energy expenditure and sugary beverage consumption. Sugar-sweetened beverage intake was broken down into four tiers: less than one glass monthly; one to four glasses monthly; more than one to six glasses weekly and one or more glasses daily.

Participants who reported consuming high levels of sugary soft drinks were more likely to be male, physically active, less educated, smokers and have a higher waistline circumference compared with those who reported lower levels of consumption.

Among high juice and nectar consumers, participants were mostly younger, female, physically active, former smokers and better educated than those with lower juice and nectar consumption.

Interestingly, heightened type 2 diabetes risk was only significant among those who drank soft drinks, not juices and nectars, the researchers found.

Those who reported drinking one or more glasses daily of soft drink had a 58% increased risk for diabetes compared with those who consumed the least amount of soft drinks (P<0.0001). This trend remained significant, albeit weakened after adjusting for BMI (P<0.0005).

Among participants who reported drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks specifically, diabetes risk was significant prior to adjusting for BMI (P<0.001), but not after (P=0.24).

Sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption remained significantly associated with diabetes both before (P<0.0001) and after (P=0.013) adjusting for BMI.

“This study corroborates the association between increased incidence of type 2 diabetes and high consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in European adults,” the researchers wrote.

Study limitations included lack of follow-up dietary data, including juices and nectars both with and without added sugar, and possible measurement errors. More studies are needed to determine whether BMI is a mediator or confounder for the association between soft drink consumption type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.


  1. Romaguera D et al. Diabetologia. 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00125-013-2899-8.