Should Diabetics Be Allowed to Drink Soda?

Soda and DiabetesSodas often contain high levels of sugar and caffeine, which may trigger complications from diabetes. Therefore, some doctors advise diabetic patients not to drink sodas, as these may cause diabetics to feel certain discomforts that are brought on by the disease.

While it is most commonly believed that sugar causes diabetes, the scientific community (including the American Diabetes Association) does not particularly advocate this kind of thinking. Although foods and beverages that contain high carbohydrate and sugar content must definitely be limited as soon as an individual develops diabetes mellitus, it does not necessarily mean that sugar itself is the cause of the disease. Still, other factors such as excessive weight and a sedentary lifestyle must be looked at, as these issues can also be among factors that lead to the development of diabetes in humans.

However, new studies have pointed out that this popular belief may be correct after all. In an experiment conducted by Harvard researchers using thousands of women, it was found that the individuals who had at least one sugar-laden soft drink in a day were two times more likely to develop non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or adult onset diabetes (type 2) as opposed to the women who drank sweetened drinks less often.

Nonetheless, experts are still hesitant in establishing a causal link between drinking sugary beverages and diabetes. In the study, the women who consumed soda pop regularly gained significantly more weight compared to those who did not include such beverages in their diets. Women who drank sodas more often gained ten pounds on average in four years. Therefore, the conclusion made was that the increase in the likelihood of developing diabetes might have been caused by the significant gain in weight rather than by drinking sweetened beverages per se.

According to Karmeen Kulkarni, the American Diabetes Association president for Health Care and Education, the whole picture must be considered instead of looking at factors piece by piece. The total calories present in any food or drink must be checked first in order to ensure that consuming such products would not contribute to excessive weight gain. Labeling one type of food or drink as a possible cause of diabetes might not be helpful in preventing individuals from getting diabetes. In the study, those who drank huge amounts of soda pop were also those who had less physical activity and were engaged in unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking.

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, one of the Harvard researchers who worked on the study, wanted to view the results of the experiment in a different light. According to her, high fructose corn syrup, a certain type of carbohydrate present in soda pops, may actually be a factor that leads to a higher diabetes risk among soda drinkers. In addition to this, Dr. Manson pointed out that whenever a huge amount of sugar rushes through a person’s blood stream quickly, the pancreas is forced to secrete high levels of insulin hormones in order to remove the sugar from the blood so that it will be utilized by the body tissues.

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