A November study in the journal Diabetes Care is in the news this week. The article, entitled Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis, examines the corollation between drinking sugary drinks and developing type 2 diabetes.
Remember, there are two types of this disease. Type 1 diabetes, also called insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM), usually first manifests in young adults. It's an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas is unable to make insulin. Insulin's job is to get the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, which then use the sugar for fuel. If there's not enough insulin in the body, then sugar builds up in the blood and the cells starve. These patients must use insulin injections and treatments in order to properly handle the sugar content in their food.
Type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disease, and is therefore called non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). Patients with this disease can still produce insulin, but not enough to fulfill their body's demand for it. There are many reasons why this occurs, and an excellent summary can be found here.
Although type 1 diabetes demands medication, type 2 diabetes responds extremely well to behavior modification such as increased exercise, decreased sedentary lifestyle, and dietary changes. It's vital for one's health to eat well and exercise well. This article, which reviews several other articles on the same subject, concludes definitively that sugary drinks are associated with weight gain, the development of metabolic syndrome, and the inicidence of type 2 diabetes.
Does this mean you're never ever allowed to drink a soda again? Or even a juice or an iced tea or a vitamin water? Of course not. But these drinks are not intended to be a replacement for good ol' fashioned water, and ought not be consumed as such.