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Originally published November 23 2010

Having even one sugary drink a day significantly ups diabetes risk

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) New research published in the journal Diabetes Care highlights the dangers of drinking even small amounts of sugary beverages like high fructose corn syrup-sweetened sodas and refined sugar-rich energy drinks. According to the report, drinking even one sugary drink a day raises the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 25 percent -- which means that instead of the current diabetes rate of one in ten, one-a-day drinkers have a one in eight chance of developing type-2 diabetes.

Besides increasing their risk of type-2 diabetes, people who drink one sugary beverage a day increase their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 20 percent. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a collection of risk factors that indicate a progression not only towards type-2 diabetes, but also towards heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and liver disease.

"Previous studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages are strongly associated with weight gain," explained Vasanti Malik, author of the study and research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition. And as many people now know, obesity is linked to a variety of different health problems.

Earlier this year, research presented at the American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Conference explained that consumption of HFCS-sweetened soda has led to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of heart disease, and 50,000 more "life years" with heart disease -- and all within just ten years (

One of the specific reasons why researchers believe sugary beverages are so harmful is that they cause extreme spikes in blood sugar levels. The resultant insulin resistance that develops creates inflammation and hypertension, both of which lead to diabetes.

Avoiding all forms of refined sugar is beneficial not only for preventing obesity but also the many diseases that emerge as a result of it, including diabetes. When sweetening beverages, whole-leaf stevia is an excellent alternative to refined sugar because it contains no sugar, no calories, and it does not affect blood sugar levels -- and it is 100 percent natural.

(Note: whole leaf stevia is different from the processed stevia products now found in many conventional grocery stores.)

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