STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Wednesday October 26, 2016 – With the high incidence of diabetes in the Caribbean, a new study suggesting that diet drinks are almost as harmful to health as regular sodas should be cause for concern.
Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that drinking just two glasses of diet drinks daily more than doubles the risk of developing diabetes.
The researchers studied 2,874 adults who had completed a year-long diary about their intake of drinks.
The participants who had two or more sweetened drinks a day were 2.4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. “Sweetened drinks” in this context included sugary beverages and artificially sweetened ones like Diet Coke or sugar-free concentrates.
The scientists established that every 200ml glass of a sugary carbonated drink consumed each day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
The diet drinks were only marginally behind, increasing the risk by 18 percent, according to the findings published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
According to lead researcher Josefin Löfvenborg, diet drinks may “stimulate the appetite”, leading to weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners may also cause chemical reactions within fat tissue and with bacteria in the gut, leading to the body becoming less tolerant of glucose and triggering type 2 diabetes, she added.
“One hypothesis is that consumption of diet soft drinks may stimulate appetite making us increase our food intake, especially sweet or sugary foods, possibly leading us to become overweight which is a risk factor for diabetes.
“It has also been proposed that artificial sweeteners may negatively affect the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ species of microbes in the gut, leading to glucose intolerance,” she revealed.
Last year, scientists at the Karolinska Institute found that men who had two diet drinks a day were 23 percent more likely to develop heart failure.