Pre-diabetes is a growing disease, with 86 million Americans – now one in three – diagnosed with it. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are just slightly out of range from type 2 diabetes, but they are headed in that direction if lifestyle steps are not taken to reverse the direction.

Cut sodas to reduce pre-diabetes risk

Woman Drinking Soda Woman Drinking Soda Woman Drinking Soda

Pre-diabetes is a growing disease, with 86 million Americans – now one in three – diagnosed with it. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are just slightly out of range from type 2 diabetes, but they are headed in that direction if lifestyle steps are not taken to reverse the direction.

Tufts University researchers have analyzed data accumulated for over 14 years on over 1,600 middle-aged adults. These folks did not have pre-diabetes or diabetes at the beginning of the study. The researchers looked at health down the road, and intake of sweetened drinks. Sweetened drinks included sweetened sodas, sweet lemonade, fruit punches (but not 100% fruit juices), and sweet tea.

Results showed that sweetened drink intake increased the incidence of both insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes– this is where the pancreas makes insulin but the body cannot use it.  In fact, there was more pre-diabetes in folks who averaged just one can of soda per day.

The researchers did not find a relationship between diet soda intake and increased risk for developing either insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Those with a very low or even no intake of sweet drinks had the lowest occurrence of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes risk. This all makes sense because any time you regularly spike glucose levelsand drinking sweet drinks will do that immediately – you are putting extra pressure on your pancreas to make a lot of insulin quickly. If you do this enough times, you will eventually wear out the pancreas.

Perhaps it is a good time to reassess your beverages to make sure that most of them are sugar-free and do not spike blood sugars. Examples of sugar-free beverages include:

  • Water, flavored water, seltzer water, club soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Seltzer water
  • Club soda

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.