Diabetes from Added Sugar on the Rise in Many Countries
Sugary foods and drinks have been found to raise the prevalence of diabetes worldwide, according to a study recently published online in PLoS ONE. Researchers cited some countries such as Bangladesh, France, Georgia, Philippines and Romania, where diabetes is prevalent despite low obesity rates, which therefore led them to suggest that diabetes may be mainly driven by excessive sugar intake.
Most of the worldwide rise has been thought to be type 2 diabetes linked to the metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors), which includes high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Researchers reported that for every additional 150 calories of sugar per person per day (equivalent to a 12-oz soda), an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is seen.
The research team led by Sanjay Basu, MD, examined cross-sectional data from 2000 to 2010 of adults aged 20 to 79 from 175 countries to find out whether the supply of sugary foods will later result to spikes in diabetes rates. An increase in the prevalence of worldwide diabetes of more than 25% was found during the 10-year period, where an increase in one quarter was attributable to the increase in availability of sugary foods alone, according to research.
In addition, researchers found that the longer a population is exposed to excess sugar and the more sugary food there is, the rate of diabetes increased. Similarly, during periods of shortage in sugar, the prevalence of diabetes decreased.
The authors however admit that given the strong findings, the study was not designed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between sugar consumption and subsequent diagnosis of diabetes. An upcoming study in international settings should clarify this link.
Busko, M. Increased Dietary Sugar Drives Global Rise in Diabetes. Medscape.