Photo: Armand Hough/ANA
Consuming as little as two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a week has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, studies have revealed.

As the world marked World Diabetes Day yesterday, health experts have warned of the factors that can influence your chances of developing diabetes in an effort to spread awareness about the silent killer.

Several studies also found that drinking only one sugar-sweetened beverage a day was associated with elevated blood pressure.

“The findings demonstrate there is a need for public education about the harmful effects of excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Professor Faadiel Essop, head of the Cardio-Metabolic Research Group of the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Essop and members of his team conducted a review of 36 studies on the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages consumption for the past decade.

The review showed that frequent intake of these beverages contributed to the onset of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.

Albert Niemann, a physician with a special interest in obesity, further explained that having insulin resistance preceded the development of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

He explained that insulin resistance was part of the metabolic syndrome, where the pancreas produced more insulin and the body’s cells became resistant to the effect of insulin. It was caused by lifestyle and genetic factors.

“The good news is that up to 70% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Emergency medical care provider ER24 said the earlier diabetes was diagnosed and treated, the better. They therefore encouraged everyone to get tested for diabetes.

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