Drinking just one can of soda can raise your diabetes risk by one-fifth, according to a new European study.
Scientists at Imperial College London, UK, found that sugary sodas not only caused weight gain but also increased a person's risk of Type 2 diabetes, regardless of his/her weight.
"There was an association in normal weight individuals, overweight and the obese. Even in normal weight individuals, those who drank a glass of soft drink a day were more likely to develop diabetes," said lead researcher Dr. Dora Romaguera. The new study is published in the journal Diabetologia.
Using data from 350,000 people in eight European countries, researchers found that people who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened soda daily were 18 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, in contrast to those who did not consume soda more than once a month.
After the researchers took into account other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, such as age and physical activity levels, body mass index (BMI) and the total daily calorie intake, the risk increased to 22 percent.
Several U.S. studies of soda consumption have shown similar results, predicting soda drinkers increase their risk of diabetes by as much as 25 percent. Even those who drink diet soda should think twice, the study said.
Sweetened drinks are a major source of processed sugar and empty calories. These drinks have a an effect not only on weight but also on overall health.
"Aside from sugar, there are nine other potentially dangerous ingredients in soda, including carcinogenic artificial colors and phosphoric acid, which can contribute to everything from obesity to cancer to the depletion of micronutrients essential for strong bones," said Jayson Calton, co-author of Rich Food, Poor Food, a book that explains the hidden dangers in food and beverages, to ABC News.