The research suggests it is healthier to consume coffee, tea, or water.
After accounting for how much people weighed and their overall eating patterns, researchers found that those who increased their total consumption of sugary drinks by a half serving a day over four years were 16% more likely to develop diabetes over the next four-year period. With the same daily half-serving increase in artificially-sweetened drinks, the odds went up 18%.
“Even though consumption of 100% fruit juices has been considered a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages because of the vitamins and minerals in fruit juices, they typically contain similar amounts of sugar and calories as sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, lead author of the study and a nutrition researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The study results “raise concerns about the negative health effects of sugary beverages, regardless of whether the sugar is added or naturally occurring,” Drouin-Chartier said by email.
Drinking an extra half a glass of fruit juice a day could increase the risk of diabetes by 15 per cent, research by Harvard University suggests.
The study of more than 190,000 men and women found all types of sugary soft drink were linked to a raised chance of developing type two diabetes.
Bur fruit juice appeared to carry significantly higher risks than drinks with added sugar, which appeared to increase the chance of diabetes by 9 per cent.
The findings showed that each half-serving increase in consumption of sugary drinks (including fruit juice) was associated with a 16% increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next four years.
The related increase in risk of type 2 diabetes, over the same time-period, for each half-serving increase in consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was 18%.
The substitution of one daily serving of a sugary drink with water, coffee or tea was associated with between a 2 and 10% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
First author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, said: “The study provides further evidence demonstrating the health benefits associated with decreasing sugary beverage consumption and replacing these drinks with healthier alternatives like water, coffee, or tea.”