Increased body weight does not fully explain the association between sweetened beverages and diabetes
A new study authored by Phd student Josefin Löfvenborg shows that the association between sweetened beverage consumption and diabetes is not fully explained by the fact that the consumption contributes to overweight and obesity. Other mechanisms are likely also involved in the association. Furthermore, our genes seem to contribute to how sweetened beverages affect the risk for LADA and type 2 diabetes.
It has previously been shown that certain genes are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Josefin has previously shown that there is an association between sweetened beverage consumption and the risk of LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) and type 2 diabetes, and in the new study she builds on this knowledge and investigates if sweetened beverage consumption related to risk of diabetes varies depending on whether the person is a carrier of risk variants of these genes or not.
Participants in the ESTRID study answer a wide variety of questions regarding possible risk factors for LADA and type 2 diabetes, e.g. dietary habits, length and weight. It is these questions, together with genetic information collected primarily through the ANDIS registry (All New Diabetics in Scania) that form the basis for the new study.
The results confirm the associations between risk variants of different genes and LADA and type 2 diabetes, respectively. However, no enhanced effect on the risk of LADA and type 2 diabetes was seen related to sweetened beverage intake among those who were carriers of high-risk variants of genes associated with autoimmunity and overweight/obesity. In contrast, an increased risk related to consumption of sweetened beverages was seen among those who were carriers of low-risk variants of the same genes. This difference was most pronounced for variants of the HLA genes and the risk of LADA.
Further analyses showed that the association between sweetened beverages and the risk of LADA and type 2 diabetes can be partly explained by the negative effect that this consumption is assumed to have on body weight. However, this cannot fully explain the association. It is therefore believed that other mechanisms are involved. One possible explanation could be that sweetened beverage consumption negatively affects insulin sensitivity.