We’re in the middle of a diabetes epidemic and soda might have something to do with it.
Believe it or not, sugar-free soda may be even worse.
Consequently, they’re both bad for the gut and can set off a chain reaction of nasty side effects.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes. (1)
Here’s what the latest research has to say about diabetes and soda:
Type 1 Versus Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas to process glucose (sugar).
Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin.
Thus, with type 1, family history is the primary risk factor.
Type 2 diabetes happens when the body gradually becomes resistant to insulin.
Thus, with type 2, diet and environmental factors are the primary risk factors. (2)
Regardless, high blood sugar is a side effect of both types.
Symptoms of Diabetes
People with diabetes may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Increased thirst
- Sores that don’t heal
- Excessive urination
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
However, you can still have diabetes and not display any of these symptoms.
Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes
Despite being an entirely reversible and preventable disease, type 2 diabetes is still the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. (3)
Here are some of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes:
1. Obesity and Lack of Exercise
Obesity and lack of exercise increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Belly fat is an even bigger risk factor because it’s linked to insulin resistance.
2. Insulin Resistance
When you constantly produce too much insulin, the fat, muscle, and liver cells eventually stop responding.
This leads to high blood sugar.
3. High-Fat Diet
Unhealthy fat, like the oil used in deep-fried food, may cause insulin resistance.
Moreover, they contain long-chain triglycerides, which get stuck in the blood and trigger round-the-clock insulin production.
Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and obesity. (4)
4. Genes Combined with Lifestyle Factors
Although type 2 diabetes doesn’t follow a direct pattern of inheritance, genetic factors combined with lifestyle factors may play a role in the development of the disease.
Studies have revealed that roughly 150 DNA variations influence the disease.
For instance, some variations can affect the cells in the pancreas, whereas others affect the release of insulin.
The subtle combinations of these variations can help determine the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.
Here is the breakdown of diabetic rates by race/ethnicity:
- Non-Hispanic whites (7.4%)
- American Indians (15.1%)
- Asian Indians (11.2%)
- Filipinos (8.9%)
- Hispanics (12.1%)
- Non-hispanic blacks (12.7)
- Mexican Americans (13.8%)
Groups with higher diabetic rates also tend to have higher rates of obesity.
5. High Blood Sugar
Another primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes is high blood sugar.
Thus, when blood sugar is high, the pancreas increases insulin production.
As a result, the cells eventually become resistant and stop processing it.
Furthermore, other potential risk factors of type 2 diabetes include…
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hormonal diseases like Cushing’s syndrome
- Heart disease
- Exposure to toxins
- Medications that disrupt insulin production
…and of course, chronic inflammation: something that sugar and artificial sweeteners are especially good at.
Diet Soda and Diabetes
You might want to think twice before reaching for that can of diet soda.
Actually, studies show that artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of diabetes.
One recent study published in Diabetes Care found that drinking diet soda every day can increase the risk of diabetes by 67 percent! (5)
Another study found that feeding mice zero-calorie sweeteners caused them to develop glucose intolerance. (6)
What’s even scarier is that diet soda can double your chances of diabetic retinopathy: a progressive disease that causes blindness. (7)
How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with Nutrition
Following a diabetic diet plan can help restore insulin sensitivity.
Not only that, but it can also normalize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
Plus, it protects against complications like heart disease, hormonal imbalances, and obesity.
Step #1: Remove High-Risk Foods
These foods increase inflammation, trigger the immune system, and boost blood sugar levels.
If you want to reverse diabetes naturally, you’ll have to ditch these foods:
1. Refined Sugar
The refined sugar in soda spikes blood sugar. (8)
Unfortunately, even natural sweeteners like maple syrup and raw honey are too sweet to eat.
The best alternative is green stevia.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Avoid artificial sweeteners and diet soda.
Here’s a list of artificial sweeteners to watch out for:
Simple carbs spike blood glucose just like sugar.
Gluten-containing grains, like bread and pasta, are the worst kind because they also cause gut inflammation and affect hormone levels.
Dairy is pro-inflammatory and contains a protein called casein that can trigger the immune system and promote inflammation.
5. Hydrogenated Oils
Oils like canola, safflower, soybean, and cottonseed oil are heavily processed.
Eating them has a long list of health concerns, including diabetes.
It’s no surprise that alcohol is on the list.
Research shows that people who drink more than three drinks a day are 43 percent more likely to develop diabetes. (9)
Plus, it’s high in carbs and causes inflammation.
Step #2: Eat Diabetes-Friendly Foods
The ideal diet for reversing diabetes is low in carbs and high in heart-healthy fats, protein, and non-starchy vegetables.
Here’s a list of foods to eat:
- Free-range eggs
- Wild-caught salmon
- Grass-fed beef
- Darky leafy greens
- Coconut oil (10)
In fact, studies show that medium-chain triglycerides like coconut oil can reduce insulin sensitivity and encourage fat loss. (11)
So chow down on these diabetes-friendly foods and ditch the soda.
If you have any more questions about diabetes and soda, our providers at Complete Care Health Centers are happy to help.
Feel free to contact us today for more advice about the side effects of soda and artificial sweeteners.