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Coke pepsi risks diabetes weight gain { August 25 2004 }

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Pop goes your waistline: Soda ups risk of diabetes, weight gain
By Kay Lazar
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Things don't go better with Coke. Or Pepsi. Or any sugar-sweetened soft drink.

That's according to a new study that links significant weight gain and higher risk of type 2 diabetes in women who drink soda daily.

Researchers at Harvard's School of Public Health tracked more than 91,000 women and found those who drank about a soda a day piled on 19 pounds over eight years. They also increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes - the most common form - by 83 percent compared to women who drank less than one soda a month.

Diet colas were not linked to diabetes, nor were fruit juices that had no added sugars, said the study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The soft drink industry blasted the findings, noting that women who drank more sugary sodas also tended to smoke and eat more and exercise less than non-soda drinkers.

``It is scientifically indefensible to blame any one food or beverage for increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes,'' the American Beverage Association said in a statement.

While experts debate the reported soda-diabetes link, a nutritionist at Boston's Joslin Diabetes Center said she worries about the trend toward super-sized sodas.

``Kids are all growing up drinking this stuff and drinking huge portions of it, so if there is a link, it's going to affect this entire population,'' said Karen Chalmers.`

The news took the fizz out of some consumers day.

``It worries me,'' said Nadine Wilkerson of Milton, whose grandmother recently died of diabetes.

The 19-year-old generally drinks sugar-sweetened iced tea about three times a week, but also admits to drinking a fair amount of soda, too.

``(Diabetes) is in my blood so there's more chance I'll get it,'' she said. ``I drink soda, but not as much as I used to.''

( Daniel Courtright contributed to this story. )

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