Sugar-sweetened beverages increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Each person in the United States drinks nearly 45 gallons of soda each year. Many of those are sugar-sweetened. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which include soft drinks, fruit drinks, iced tea, and energy and vitamin water drinks, has risen across the globe. The regular drinking of these beverages is not only a drain on your pocketbook, but they are a source of empty calories that are padding your waistline. Regular consumption of sugary drinks, such as coffee drinks, fruit drinks, Koolaid, soft drinks, vitamin waters, and energy drinks, has been linked to a long list of chronic diseases. These diseases include diabetes type 2, fatty liver disease, heart disease, obesity, and stroke. There is increasing evidence that supports the likelihood that the mechanism for this link might just be metabolic syndrome and central obesity.
A 2010 research study, “Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis”, looked at this very question. The study, published in Diabetes Care, looked at this very topic. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of prior studies. They searched the MEDLINE database for prospective cohort studies of sugar-sweetened beverage intake and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The researchers identified 11 studies for inclusion in a random-effects meta-analysis. The researchers found that individuals with the highest sugary beverage intake of 1-2 servings per day or more per day had a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with one serving or less per month. Among studies evaluating metabolic syndrome, the pooled analysis found a risk rate of 1.20 which means that metabolic syndrome was more likely to occur in the group that took in the high level of sugary drinks.
There are plenty of studies that have looked at the mechanism for obesity and metabolic syndrome being tied to sugar consumption including soft drinks. One that I recommend was published in 2006 in the International Journal of Obesity. It reviews the potential risk and mechanism of the risk caused by sugary beverages. I have written additional articles on sugar and weight loss/gain and metabolic syndrome.
The bottom line: Higher consumption of sugar-containing beverages is associated with the development of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. These data provide empirical evidence that intake should be limited to reduce the obesity-related risk of chronic metabolic diseases
Malik, V. S., B. M. Popkin, G. A. Bray, J.-P. Despres, W. C. Willett, and F. B. Hu. “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis.” Diabetes Care 33, no. 11 (August 6, 2010): 2477–83. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc10-1079.
Pereira, M A. “The Possible Role of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Obesity Etiology: A Review of the Evidence.” International Journal of Obesity 30 (December 2006): S28–36. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803489.