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Study Links Sugar Consumption, Not Obesity, to Type 2 Diabetes

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A new worldwide study published in PLOS ONE revealed that increases in sugar intake have a strong correlation to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. That might come as as a surprise, since the talks of diabetes are usually linked to obesity. But even though there are 1.4 billion adults suffering from obesity, this new research finds that it's access to sugar -- usually in the form of sweetened sodas -- that's responsible for the disease worldwide.

The news, of course, isn't pleasant for the money-making soda industry. They have been hurting since their carbonated drinks have suffered scrutiny, additional taxes, and downsizing.

The research team from Stanford University and UC San Francisco who conducted the study found that increases in sugar intake account for a third of new cases of diabetes in the United States and a quarter of cases worldwide, according to calculations published Wednesday. In the 175 countries studied, a 150-calorie daily increase in the availability of sugar — about the equivalent of a can of Coke or Pepsi — raises the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes by 1.1%.

Says the Times:

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Whether sugar consumption or obesity is the biggest factor in diabetes is an unresolved question with important implications for public health policy. If obesity is the primary cause, measures that boost exercise and reduce intake of any kind of calories should drive down diabetes rates. If sugar is responsible, the emphasis should shift to reducing the amount of the sweetener consumed in food and drinks.

Of course, sugar consumption and obesity go hand in hand, and the approach to solving the diabetes issue isn't as simple as getting rid of soda. But cutting down on its intake and distribution worldwide sure could be a good start.