Regular Consumption of Sweetened Drinks Linked to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Boys


Preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024 in Chicago suggests that regular consumption of sugary drinks and 100% fruit juices during childhood and adolescence may increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, particularly among boys, according to a small, long-term study of nearly 500 children in Massachusetts.

The study, based on data from Project Viva, an ongoing investigation of women and their children in eastern Massachusetts, examined the association between sugary drink consumption and markers for Type 2 diabetes development. It found that each daily serving of sugary drinks during childhood and adolescence was linked to increased insulin resistance, fasting blood glucose levels, and HbA1c levels in late adolescence among boys.

Similarly, drinking 100% fruit juice throughout childhood and adolescence was associated with elevated HbA1c levels in late adolescence among boys, albeit with a minimal increase observed in girls. However, consuming fresh fruits during childhood and adolescence did not show a significant impact on the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in either boys or girls.

These associations remained significant even after adjusting for various health, family, and social factors. The researcher noted surprise at the lack of association between sugary drinks and fruit juice intake and increases in insulin resistance, glycemia, and HbA1c levels in late-adolescent girls.

Further analysis using advanced statistical tools is needed to understand the potential causal role of sugary drinks and fruit juices and to explore potential differences among children by race and/or ethnicity.

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