Does drinking too much pop or soda cause diabetes?
Drinking regular soda will not directly cause diabetes. However, if you drink it frequently, it will add extra calories to your diet. Those extra calories add up over time and cause weight gain, and being overweight puts you at a much higher risk for developing diabetes.
There are genetic factors that play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle plays heavily into whether or not you develop the disease. Obviously we don’t have control over our genes, but we do have control over the way we eat and how much we exercise. You can significantly lower your risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases by making healthy food choices, being physically active and losing weight if you are currently overweight.
Don't forget that the calories, fat, and carbohydrates that you get from drinks still count as part of your diet. A tall (12-ounce), White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has over 350 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 48 grams of carbohydrate. For many people – this is as much as a meal! What's more is that research has found that drinks do not give us the same full feeling as solid food does. So, drinking a lot of calories doesn't mean you will eat less food.
It is okay to treat yourself once in a while, but it is important to make healthy drink choices the rest of the time whether you have diabetes or not. The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing zero- or very low-calorie beverages. This includes water, unsweetened teas (hot or cold), coffee, diet soda, and low-calorie drinks and drink mixes. All of these beverages provide minimal calories and carbohydrates.
If you are trying to prevent diabetes and are overweight, losing weight can help. Sugary drinks like regular soda, sweet tea, fruit punch, energy drinks, and other sugary drinks are high in calories and have little nutritional value. So, cutting back on these drinks and replacing them with the recommended drinks above can help you cut calories and manage your weight.
Learn more about diabetes prevention and What to Drink at diabetes.org.
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