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The finding is based on an analysis of data collected from more than 28,000 people in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The increased risk of developing diabetes associated with having one sugar-sweetened soft drink a day fell to 18 percent when the investigators took into account people's total calorie intake and body-mass index (BMI), a measurement of body fat based on height and weight.
Both total calorie intake and BMI are believed to play a role in the link between sugar-sweetened soft drinks and diabetes risk. The fact that diabetes risk fell only slightly when these two factors were taken into account could indicate that the effect of sugar-sweetened soft drinks on diabetes goes beyond their impact on body weight, said Dora Romaguera, of the Imperial College London, and colleagues.
The findings are published in the April 24 issue of the journal Diabetologia.
The study found an association between consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and heightened risk of type 2 diabetes. It did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Consumption of pure or diluted fruit juice was not significantly associated with diabetes risk, according to the report.
The 22 percent increased risk of diabetes among Europeans who drink sugar-sweetened soft drinks is similar to previous research showing that North Americans who consume these types of beverages have a 25 percent increased risk of diabetes, the researchers said in a journal news release.
"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population," Romaguera said.
-- Robert Preidt
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