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Sodas, Fruit Juices Raise Boys' Odds for Type 2 Diabetes
  • Posted March 20, 2024

Sodas, Fruit Juices Raise Boys' Odds for Type 2 Diabetes

WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2024 -- Boys who drink lots of sugary soda and fruit juice could be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, a new study has found.

Each daily 8-ounce serving of sugary drinks during a boy's childhood is associated with a 34% increase in insulin resistance by the time they are teens, researchers found.

Sugary drinks and fruit juices also were associated with increases in blood sugar levels, results show.

"While these findings are preliminary, they support the existing evidence about the potential relationship between beverages with added sugar and long-term risk of Type 2 diabetes in children,"lead researcher Soren Harnois-Leblanc, a registered dietitian and postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

For the study, researchers tracked the health of almost 500 Massachusetts children taking part in an ongoing long-term study of women and their children. As part of the study, dietary records were kept on the childen.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. kids and teens consume at least one sugary drink"soda, lemonade, energy drinks and the like"every day, according to the American Heart Association.

Eating too many foods with added sugars raises a person's risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and tooth decay, researchers said.

For the new study, researchers estimated how much sugary drinks and fruit juices kids were consuming on average, and compared these estimates to blood tests taken in adolescence for markers of type 2 diabetes.

They found that boys who consumed more sugary drinks were more insulin-resistant, meaning cells in muscle, fat and the liver can't easily take up sugar from the blood. Larger amounts of sugary drinks and fruit juice appeared to cause higher levels of blood sugar.

Girls did not have the same risk as boys, with fruit juice causing only a small increase in their blood sugar levels, researchers said.

Harnois-Leblanc said researchers were surprised to find this difference between boys and girls. 

"Although several aspects of biology and behaviors differ between boys and girls,"the team had expected more sugary drinks and fruit juice to cause higher diabetes risk in girls as well, Harnois-Leblanc said.

Results also showed that eating fresh fruit had no apparent effect on type 2 diabetes risk among either boys or girls.

"I was also surprised that eating whole fruits did not reduce the levels of these markers of type 2 diabetes,"Harnois-Leblanc said.

American Heart Association nutrition committee member Penny Kris-Etherton found it "striking that many measures of type 2 diabetes risk were increased in boys at such an early age."

"These findings support the current dietary recommendations of the Association, and many organizations, to limit or eliminate drinking sugar sweetened beverages and instead consume whole fruits, which are high in so many nutrients,"Kris-Etherton said in a news release. She was not involved in the study.

The findings were presented Tuesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.

Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about sugar-sweetened beverages.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 19, 2024

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