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Some Starbucks drinks contain more sugar than a quarter cup of Skittles. Getty Images
  • Researchers say that people who drink increasing amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages have a 16 percent higher diabetes risk.
  • Experts say switching to light soda does not reduce your risk.
  • It can help to reduce the number of sugary drinks you drink per day.

Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes can be as simple as changing what is in your glass.

Recent research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that people who drink increasing amounts of sugary drinks (including soft drinks and 100 percent fruit juice) run a "moderately" higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study followed the consumption of sugary beverages among 192,000 study participants over the course of 26 years, while their overall health was assessed every 4 years.

Researchers said they discovered that people who drank more and more sugar-sweetened drinks and 100 percent fruit juice had a 16 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

With obesity rates continuing to rise, experts in obesity, diabetes and weight loss are frustrated that many people would still choose to consume soft drinks daily.

"I don't understand why you want to spend those calories and sugar intake on a drink versus something you can actually eat," said Alexis Elliott, LCSW, LISW-CP, CDE, a health coach with a specialty in treating people with diabetes and people with obesity and eating disorders.

"Of course, people know it's not good for you, but they don't understand how much sugar is in a can of soda," Elliott told Healthline.

Many people may not know that the drink they drink contains more sugar than 1 serving of Skittles candy, for example:

Fruit juice also remains confusing for those trying to improve their diet, especially with trendy gadgets for making juice.

"The problem with fruit juice is that you only get sugar without the fiber or nutrients that you need and benefit from eating an apple," Elliott explains.

"Under the neck, your body doesn't know the difference between apple juice and sugar water, but it does know the difference between a real apple and a cup of fruit juice – even if it's 100 percent juice," she said.

You should also not send this research to the store in search of light soft drinks.

People who drink artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) had an 18 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes, but the study authors warned that other variables play a role in this finding.

“The findings regarding ASBs should be interpreted with caution due to the possibility of reverse causation (people who are already at high risk of diabetes being able to switch from sugary drinks to diet drinks) and bias in surveillance (people with a high risk are more likely to be screened for diabetes and therefore diagnosed faster), & the report said.

Aspartame – the most common artificial sweetener in light soft drinks – has previously been examined.

Although it does not raise blood sugar immediately after consumption, Study 2018 suggested that the sweetener may affect cortisol levels and insulin resistance.

Experts say switching from soft drinks to light soft drinks is not the answer. Instead, the goal should be to drink more water.

Reducing the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on your health does not mean that you have to stop taking cold turkey.

Replacing 1 serving of soda or juice with water or unsweetened coffee or tea can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by around 2 to 10 percent, the researchers reported.

“The research results are in line with current recommendations to replace sugary drinks with non-calorie drinks without artificial sweeteners. Although fruit juices contain some nutrients, their consumption must be moderated, "Dr. said. Frank Hu, MPH, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology and a senior author of the study, in a press release.

"Sugar can be addictive than heroin," Elliott explained. "But we are constantly exposed to sugar and society sees it as an acceptable form of addictive substance, so it is much harder to manage or avoid."

When working with customers, Elliott often sees this dependence on sugar in the most apparently harmless food choices, such as flavored coffee creamer.

"I have so many customers who can't stop those sugar-sweetened coffee creamers, and there's so much sugar in one small portion," she said.

Although some of the details in the addiction criteria are not strictly applicable to sugar, many others explained that, Elliott explained.

“First, do you drink the substance in larger quantities to get the same effects? Did you drink 1 can of soda a day in the past and now you have 2 or 3 a day? & # 39; she said.

"This is very easy with caffeine," said Elliott. "You used to drink 1 cup of coffee, but now you don't feel anymore until you drink at least 2 or 3 cups."

"Second," Elliott continued, "you wanted to reduce content, but can't? And spend a lot of time or energy thinking about quitting? These are signs of addiction."

“This following is important for sugar and diabetes – do you continue to use the substance even though you know you have a problem that has a negative impact on your life? Such as a diabetes diagnosis, & said Elliott. "And finally, do you have any withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance?"

A drastic reduction in your sugar intake is likely to lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headache, irritability, fatigue and even a little trembling.

“Some people tend to use soft drinks or the frappuccino laden with sugar as a stool. Maybe they were brought up with it and it is that vice they will not give up. Or they say, "Well, I don't smoke or drink alcohol, but I only have my soft drink," says Elliott.

"It's a coping mechanism for many people," she added. "When things get stressful, you reach for your can of coke in the same way that some people reach for a beer, a cigarette, or a pint of ice."

Elliott added that reducing or quitting your sugar-sweetened drinking habits comes down to creating new habits.

"You can train your taste buds just as you train your muscles, and one day you take a sip of sugar that you no longer have, and you will think: & # 39; How did I do this every day to drink ? & # 39;

Ginger Vieira is an expert patient who lives with type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and fibromyalgia. Find her diabetes books on Amazon and get in touch with her twitter and YouTube.

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