New study reveals that drinking soda is worse for your health than eating candy
Coffee, juice and tea are all viable options, but when that feeling of thirst hits, many people around the world like to resort to a nice soda. Fizzy and sweet with a couple of ice cubes to ensure that you're getting the best taste every time, most people have enjoyed a can of Coke or a cup of Mountain Dew at some point in their lives.
That's not to say that it's good for you: we're under no illusions that the levels of caffeine, sugar and other chemicals found in your average drink of soda mean you shouldn't drink them too frequently. But a new study says that soda is actually at lot worse for us than we initially thought, and that it might be a leading risk factor for insulin resistance, and as a result, type 2 diabetes.
This study comes from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and Toronto University in Canada, and was published in the British Medical Journal. It aimed to better understand how sugary consumables affect overall blood glucose levels, and they found that soda affected those levels more than any other sugary food.
How did they figure this out? Well, they took data from 155 different studies, which looked at people with and without type 2 diabetes for a period of about 12 weeks. There, they found that foods with natural fructose (like vegetable, fruits and natural fruit juice) didn't affect blood sugar levels too much, but foods with added glucose were a different story.
Foods like breakfast cereal, baked goods and candy were all found to have harmful effects, but soda was by far the biggest offender, with the study saying it "may increase your risk of diabetes more than other sugary foods". They're described as giving excess "nutrient-poor" energy to a diet, which is not great for avoiding type 2 diabetes.
Researchers suspect that this is because of the low glycemic index in most fructose-based foods, while glucose-rich foods see a bigger spike in blood-sugar levels, eventually leading to insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes as a result.
"These findings might help guide recommendations on important food sources of fructose in the prevention and management of diabetes," John Sievenpiper, researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre of St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada and lead author of the study, said in a statement. "But the level of evidence is low and more high quality studies are needed."
There were some limitations to the study, such as small sample sizes, short follow-up periods, and limited variety of foods, but the huge scope of the study indicates that the researchers may be onto something here.
Still, the team aren't completely sure of the wider reaching effects, concluding: "Until more information is available, public health professionals should be aware that harmful effects of fructose sugars on blood glucose seem to be mediated by energy and food source."