Reducing the amount of sugar in sweetened drinks could had a significant impact on the number of people who have type 2 diabetes in the future, a new study has suggested.
Published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, the research looked at the effect of cutting the amount of sugar in sweetened drinks in the UK by 40 per cent over the next five years.
Professor Graham MacGregor and his team at Queen Mary University of London, who led the study, say this drop in sugar content in drinks could prevent 500,000 people from becoming overweight and a million cases of obesity.
In addition, having a larger proportion of people in healthy weight categories would stop around 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes over the next two decades.
By looking at data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and British Soft Drinks Association annual reports, the researchers were able to calculate that a 40 per cent drop would reduce average calorie intake by 38.4 kcal each day.
If this was done over a five-year period, by the end, it would mean an average reduction in body weight of 1.20kg in adults.
Commenting on the research's findings, Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said diets that are high in sugar and calories are leading to a big rise in obesity, which is causing a significant growth in the number of people with type 2 diabetes.
He explained that this condition can lead to blindness, amputations and stroke, if complications arise.
"Unlike type 1 diabetes which is not linked to obesity and cannot be prevented, weight gain and obesity are the most potent risk factors for type 2 diabetes and it is therefore essential that we put measures in place to help people make healthier choices and lead healthier lives," Mr Askew explained.
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