The largest and most thorough review to date of research on sweetened drinks found that “fruit” drinks and other sweetened drinks are strongly associated with overweight and obesity (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 2023;117(1):160-174). The authors reviewed 85 studies, covering more than half a million participants, and found that each increase in servings-per-day of sweetened drinks is associated with a one pound increase per year in body weight in adults, and one half pound in children. The increase in weight was directly proportional to how much a person drank (the more they drank, the fatter they became). Being overweight increases risk for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers.
Sugared Drinks Raise Blood Sugar Faster Than Solid Foods
When you take in liquid sugar, you get a higher rise in blood sugar than when you take in the same amount of sugar in a solid food. Solid food is not allowed to pass into your intestines because when you eat, the pyloric muscle at the end of the stomach closes and allows only a liquid soup to pass into the intestines. Sugared drinks can pass right through into your intestines, so they cause the quickest rises in blood sugar. Compared to sugar in food, sugared drinks are more tightly associated with increased risk for excess belly fat (Circulation, January 11, 2016; Quart J Med, Apr 26, 2017).
I believe that everyone should severely restrict sugared drinks. Sugared drinks markedly increase risk for a fatty liver that increases risk for obesity, heart attacks, cancers and diabetes. More than 70 percent of North American adults will become diabetic or prediabetic, diseases that are curable with lifestyle changes and are not curable with drugs alone. Insulin insensitivity (failure to respond to insulin) causes the majority of all cases of type II diabetes and prediabetes, and insulin insensitivity is usually caused by excess fat in the liver (J Clin Invest, May 19, 2020). The ability of insulin to lower high blood sugar levels is best in people who are skinny and do not have a fatty liver. As people gain weight, they become insulin insensitive. When they have both excess body fat and a fatty liver, they are insulin insensitive and therefore are diabetic or prediabetic. See Beat Diabetes By Getting Fat Out of Your Liver and Muscles
Prevent Diabetes with Exercise and a Plant-Based Diet