Soda

The prevalence of diabetes—now at epidemic levels in the U.S.—shows a strong correlation to sugar intake, more so than whether or not a person is obese, according to new research published in the journal PLoS One.

Pinpointing the ubiquitous sugary sodas and soft drinks as the most obvious culprit, the study researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University found that the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased by more than 1 percent for every 150-sugar calorie consumption per day. Sugar, in the form of cane, beet or high fructose corn syrup were the most notable offenders.

One hundred and seventy countries were studied in the research, and the team noted that an increase in daily sugar consumption accounted for one-third of all new cases of diabetes reported in the U.S., and one-fourth of all the cases worldwide.

Both the American Beverage Association and the Sugar Association have criticized the research saying it fails to even attempt to show that sugar consumption causes diabetes. The American Beverage Association said the study failed to consider solid fats, such as butter and cheese, as more likely culprits in causing diabetes.

Concerns over the amount of sodas and sugary soft drinks consumed in the U.S.—particularly by children—has been a hot-button issue. In recent years schools have begun phasing out sweetened beverages from vending machines and cafeterias, including flavored milk products. And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration recently passed controversial legislation banning the sale of sodas and sweetened soft drinks in sizes of more than 20-ounces throughout the city to help combat the city’s widespread obesity and diabetes issues.

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Image: Mr. T in DC