Swapping sugary drinks for coffee or water linked to fewer deaths in diabetic adults

Swapping sugary drinks for coffee or water linked to fewer deaths in diabetic adults

Replacing sugary drinks with coffee, tea or water is linked to fewer deaths in adults with diabetes, say researchers.

For adults with type 2 diabetes, the swap is associated with lower rates of early death due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other causes, finds new research published by The BMJ.

A greater increase in coffee and tea consumption from before to after a diabetes diagnosis was also associated with lower death rates.

Researchers suggest that these findings highlight the potential role of healthy beverage choices in managing risk for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Increased risk

More than 500 million adults worldwide had type 2 diabetes in 2021, which carries an increased risk of CVD and premature death. This number is set to rise to 783 million by 2045.

Diet plays a key role in managing diabetes, but little is known about intake of specific types of beverages in relation to death and CVD among adults with type 2 diabetes.

After accounting for other lifestyle factors and medical history, they found that participants with the highest intake of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs)  – more than one serving a day – had a 20% increased risk of death from any cause compared with participants with the lowest intake (less than one serving a month).

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Lower mortality

In contrast, high intakes of certain beverages (up to six servings a day) were associated with lower mortality – 26% lower for coffee, 21% for tea, 23% for plain water, and 12% for low fat milk.

The researchers concluded: ‘Overall, these results provide additional evidence that emphasises the importance of beverage choices in maintaining overall health among adults with diabetes.’

The study was observational so can’t establish cause. The researchers acknowledge that individual beverage consumption may be linked to other dietary and lifestyle risk factors for CVD and mortality among adults with diabetes.

Further studies are warranted to replicate and further explore these important associations, the researchers add.

Spike in cases

This comes as the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has topped five million for the first time.

New figures from Diabetes UK show that 4.3 million people are now living with a diabetes diagnosis in the UK.

Figures for 2021-22 are up by 148,951 from 2020-21. More than 2.4 million people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the UK.

Around 90% of diagnoses are of type 2 diabetes, while around 8% of diagnoses are type 1 diabetes.

The charity also estimates there are an additional 850,000 people living with diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed. This means the overall UK figure surpasses five million.

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