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Water, Tea and Coffee as Great Alternative Beverages for Diabetes Patients

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A recent study published in Diabetologia, an online entity that publishes trustable clinical research studies in the field of diabetes, shows that water and unsweetened tea and coffee can be great replacements to sweetened beverages.

Dr. Nita Forouhi, from Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University Of Cambridge, UK stated that it is highly recommendable for diabetes patients to limit the intake of free sugars in their diet.

The study shows that a 5% increase in the daily energy intake can raise the risk of having Type II Diabetes up to 18%. The suggestion made by the study fits well with the recommendation World Health Organization.

Replace soda with water  tea or coffee to fight diabetes  study suggests

Dietary Assessment Done by Research Team at University of Cambridge, UK

There are many solid pieces of evidence that support such association between Type II Diabetes and sugar consumption. However, those studies relied on questionnaires that asked about food frequency.

They did not account the amount of sugar intake in the daily beverages such as tea and coffee. The study author wrote that their epidemiological research did not implement the common food diaries in its dietary assessment questionnaires.

Instead, they recorded the beverage consumption of over 25, 639 UK adults who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Norfolk Study. These adults were free from any diabetes disease when they first participated in the research study, and their ages ranged between 40 to 79 years old.

In the study, the participants were required to log their daily foods and drinks intakes for seven consecutive days. The study paid specific attention to the types of beverages that they consumed, together with the frequencies and amounts of the added sugars in their drinks.

Dr. Forouhi explained that with the detailed dietary analysis, the researchers managed to study the different types of beverages – fruit juice, sweetened and artificially sweetened – consumed by the participants. Plus, it also observed the results if water, unsweetened tea, and coffee were to replace the sugar-loaded drinks.

Plus, they were able to examine what happen when the artificially sweetened beverages (e.g. diet sodas) were replaced by sugary drinks (e.g. sweetened tea and coffee). Each participant then underwent a follow-up process for as long as 11 years, and the result showed that up to 847 participants had the new-onset Type II Diabetes.

Daily Consumption of Sugary Beverages Can Increase Diabetes Risk Up to 22%

Researchers found out that the risk of Type II Diabetes can be increased up to approximately 22% due to the consumption of extra daily serving of soft drinks, sweetened milk beverages, and artificially sweetened beverages.

However, such risk of diabetes was not directly linked to the consumption of fruit juice and sweetened tea or coffee. Plus, the association between diabetes and artificially sweetened beverages was no longer relevant after measuring the Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist girth of the participants.

Perhaps, it is because the soft drinks were mainly consumed by those who are already obese. Furthermore, the research continued to study the effect of replacing the sweetened drinks with water or unsweetened drinks.

It turned out that such alternative drinks can reduce the risk of diabetes up to 14% for soda replacement and up to 25% for milk beverage replacement.

From the result, Dr. Forouhi added that the study has provided strong evidence on the benefits of the healthy alternative drinks (e.g. water, unsweetened tea, and coffee) in reducing diabetes risk. It also simultaneously offers a practical suggestion for diabetes patients out there.

Population-Based Intervention to Promote the Consumption of Healthy Alternative Beverages

Despite the comprehensive and detailed dietary assessment made by the research team, the study is still somewhat limited. A report shows that the national representative UK adults’ intake of sugary beverages is 30% higher than the amount recorded in the study.

Plus, the dietary measurement was only done at the beginning of the study and did not consider the drinking changes that might have occurred over time.

Therefore, the author of the study suggested the implementation of population-based interventions to cut down the intake of sweetened beverages and promote the consumption of the healthy alternative beverages – water, unsweetened tea, and coffee.

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