Intended for healthcare professionals


Compelling evidence linking sugary drinks with diabetes

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 29 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4087
  1. Edward W Gregg, chief, Epidemiology and Statistics Branch,
  2. Ann Albright, director
  1. 1Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
  1. Correspondence to: E W Gregg Edg7{at}

It’s not just about obesity any more

Global estimates of diabetes prevalence continue to outpace previous projections, as virtually all regions of the world continue to see a large and growing prevalence.1 Proposals by diabetes prevention experts for how to change these trends have included both structured programmes for adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes (the “high risk approach”) and environmental and food policies to help change risk factors in the whole population (the “population approach”).1 Promising programmes for those at high risk are already underway and need to be expanded,2 but complementary shifts in underlying risk factors in the broader population are also needed. The list of risk factors for type 2 diabetes is long, with dozens of demographic, behavioural, and genetic risk factors now identified.3 Unfortunately the list of simple, consensus based levers to change population risk factors and substantially influence the risk for type 2 diabetes remains short.

In a linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.h3576) Imamura and colleagues present a compelling case that beverages sweetened with sugar should be a major target for policies aimed at reducing the risk of diabetes.4 A systematic review of 17 prospective studies reported three findings; a higher intake of sugar sweetened …

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