Easy Swaps to Help You Slash Your Diabetes Risk

Rodale News

The sun is setting on the era of soda pop and milkshake summers. Swapping out one serving of sugary soda or sweetened milk beverage with water or unsweetened tea or coffee can reduce the incidence of diabetes up to 14 (for soda) to 25 (for sweetened milk beverages) percent, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge.

The good news is that our study provides evidence that replacing a daily serving of a sugary soft drink or sugary milk drink with water or unsweetened tea or coffee can help to cut the risk of diabetes, offering practical suggestions for healthy alternative drinks for the prevention of diabetes,” said Nita Forouhi, PhD, lead scientist of the UK Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge.

To get the max benefit, the researchers found that reducing sweetened beverages to 2 percent of what’s consumed for daily energy (about ½ cup of soda in a 2,000-calorie diet) could prevent 15 percent of diabetes cases. Even smaller decreases in soda consumption, like dropping to 5 percent (about 1 cup of soda) or 10 percent (about 2 cups of soda) could drop diabetes rates by 7 and 3 percent, respectively.

On the flip side, every 5 percent increase of calories that come from soda (about 1 cup) increases the diabetes risk by 18 percent.

Artificially sweetened drinks may not be a better solution. Research has been on the fence with this one. Some research says that artificially sweetened drinks have no effect on diabetes (but also don’t reduce your risk). Other research has found that drinking artificially sweetened drinks can increase your risk for diabetes.

“Sweetened beverages such as sodas, sweetened teas and waters, and specialty coffee drinks count toward your daily added-sugar allotment,” reminds Anne Alexander, author of Sugar Smart Express. “While none of our swaps includes artificial sweeteners, we recommend all-natural thirst quenchers like water, seltzer, green tea, black tea, and coffee.”

Here are some of her favorite swaps for sugar-bomb sodas and drinks:

Sprite: Mix 8 ounces of seltzer with 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice for a fizz that slashes sugar from the 38 grams you’d get from the full-sugar soda down to 11 grams (if made with orange juice).

Snapple Green Tea: Try Honest Tea Organic Assam Black Tea to trade this brand’s 30 grams of sugar for a mere 9 grams of sugar.

Arizona Rx Energy Herbal Tonic: At 83 grams of sugar, this drink is a prescription for trouble. Try Sweet Leaf Unsweet Tea, Lemon and Lime for a drink with zero grams of sugar.


By JULIA WESTBROOK for rodalenews.com