Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking two cans of pop per day can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by more than a quarter.

Why are you at risk?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if:

  • You are overweight or obese (with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more)
  • You carry excess weight around your tummy
  • You are physically inactive
  • You consume an unhealthy diet, specifically a diet high in sugar

Consuming a high amount of sugar in one sitting will lead to a “sugar rush” or “sugar spike”. To match this spike in sugar, the body produces a spike in insulin in order to process the glucose, this is then followed by a glucose crash. A glucose crash may make you feel tired, lethargic and possibly irritated.  People tend to compensate for this ‘crash’ by consuming more sugar, and so the vicious cycle begins.

Sugary drinks are a problem due to their high sugar content and also because they contain little else. There is no fibre, fat or protein to slow down the metabolism of the sugar once it is ingested, it is therefore processed very quickly with large amounts of insulin. Drinking sugary drinks throughout the day can lead to a constant spike and crash cycle of glucose levels which becomes difficult for the body to regulate. This can eventually lead to insulin resistance where the body is not able to properly metabolise the sugar, ultimately leading to diabetes.

A diet high in added sugar is a major concern in regards to Type 2 Diabetes risk, however other factors also play their part and can increase your risk of developing the disease, these include being overweight and being physically inactive (see section on obesity).

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling very thirsty, passing more urine than usual and feeling more tired. The symptoms occur because your body does not produce enough insulin to process the sugar you have eaten. The glucose therefore stays in your blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy so your body will try to get rid of the excess glucose in your urine. The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes, are:

  • Going to the toilet more often than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision (caused by the lens of the eye becoming dry)

Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It’s the most common cause of visual impairment and blindness in people of working age. It’s also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents).People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to have cardiovascular disease and stroke than those without diabetes.

The first step to reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes is to understand what you need to change.

If you drink sugary drinks frequently then you can easily reduce the amount of sugar and calories you’re consuming by switching to water, low sugar alternatives or diet drinks.

If you are overweight, losing about 5% of your body weight can greatly reduce your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. Every kilogram you lose can reduce your risk by up to 15%.

Learn how to reduce your sugar intake from drinks here

How much Sugar are you drinking?

How many sugary drinks do you drink per week?

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