Switching drinks can be a lifesaver for adults with type 2 diabetes

Written by | 22 Apr 2023 | Endocrine System

Among persons diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, consumption of tea, coffee or water rather than sugary drinks has been linked to lower rates of early death due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other causes.

Researchers reported these findings on April 19, 2023 in The BMJ/British Medical Journal.

“In these two prospective cohorts of men and women with type 2 diabetes in the United States, we found that higher SSB [sugar sweetened beverages] intake was associated with higher all cause mortality and CVD incidence, whereas intakes of coffee, low fat milk, and plain water were inversely associated with CVD incidence and mortality, the authors said.

As background, the authors noted that diet has a major role in the management of diabetes among adults with type 2 diabetes, but that little is known about the relationship between consumption of specific types of beverages and death or CVD.

The investigators evaluated data from the (USA) Nurses’ Health Study: 1980-2018; and (USA) Health Professionals Follow-Up Study: 1986-2018. The 15,486 male and female subjects each had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at baseline .

The researchers evaluated data on each subject for beverage consumption using a validated food frequency questionnaire, which was updated every two to four years during follow-up.

The primary outcome of the analysis was all-cause mortality.

During an average of 18.5 years of follow-up, the investigators identified 3,447 (22.3%) subjects with incident CVD, and they documented 7,638 (49.3%) deaths.

After adjusting for lifestyle and medical history, the researchers reported that subjects consuming the highest amount of sugar sweetened beverages (more than 1 serving a day) had a 20% increased risk of death from any cause compared with subjects with the lowest intake (less than 1 serving a month).

They also found that high intake of other non-sugary beverages (up to 6 servings a day) was associated with lower mortality, notably 26% lower for coffee, 21% for tea, 23% for plain water, and 12% for low fat milk.

Sugar sweetened beverages intake was associated with a 25% higher risk of CVD and a 29% higher risk of CVD related death.  Coffee and low fat milk consumption were associated with an 18% and 12% lower risk of CVD, respectively.

Compared with subjects who maintained the same level of coffee consumption after receiving their diabetes diagnosis, those who drank more coffee achieved an 18% lower all-cause death rate during follow-up. The researchers saw similar results for consumers of tea, and low fat milk.

The authors concluded, “Individual beverages showed divergent associations with all cause mortality and CVD outcomes among adults with type 2 diabetes. Higher intake of SSBs [sugar sweetened beverages] was associated with higher all cause mortality and CVD incidence and mortality, whereas intakes of coffee, tea, plain water, and low fat milk were inversely associated with all cause mortality. These findings emphasize the potential role of healthy choices of beverages in managing the risk of CVD and premature death overall in adults with type 2 diabetes.”

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