How do sugary drinks lead to this increased risk? Weight gain may explain the link: In both the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Black Women’s Health Study, women who increased their consumption of sugary drinks gained more weight than women who cut back on sugary drinks. (26, 28) Several studies show that children and adults who drink soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t, (28, 30) and that switching from these to water or unsweetened beverages can reduce weight. (31) Even so, however, weight gain caused by sugary drinks may not completely explain the increased diabetes risk. There is mounting evidence that sugary drinks contribute to chronic inflammation, high triglycerides, decreased “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and increased insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for diabetes. (32)
Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Cut back on added sugar. Read nutrition facts and ingredient lists to help with this. If sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients- the product may have too much sugar. Use fresh or frozen (without added sugar) fruit to flavor or sweetened things instead of buying things already flavored with less healthy sugars or flavorings. For example: instead of buying strawberry yogurt. Buy plain yogurt and add fresh berries. You will not only be cutting back on added sugars, but you will be adding fiber and volume which can help fill you up and control your blood sugar.
In contrast, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, donuts, bagels, and many breakfast cereals have what’s called a high glycemic index and glycemic load. That means they cause sustained spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn may lead to increased diabetes risk. (22) In China, for example, where white rice is a staple, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study found that women whose diets had the highest glycemic index had a 21 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to women whose diets had the lowest glycemic index. (23) Similar findings were reported in the Black Women’s Health Study. (24)
Other medications such as metformin or the DPP4 drug class are weight neutral. While this won’t make things worse, they won’t make things better either. Since weight loss is the key to reversing type 2 diabetes, medications won’t make things better. Medications make blood sugars better, but not the diabetes. We can pretend the disease is better, but that doesn’t make it true.