How Much Soda Does It Take To Increase Your Risk For Type 2 Diabetes?

Of the roughly one in 10 people in the U.S. with diabetes, up to 95% are cases of type 2 diabetes, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition occurs when cells develop a resistance to insulin, a necessary hormone produced by the pancreas that helps convert blood glucose into energy for our bodies. Common symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, chronic sores, as well as increased urination, thirst, and hunger (via Healthline). Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder, type 2 diabetes can be influenced by diet, including sugar consumption.

Overly processed foods, alcohol, trans fat, and sugary drinks can pose a risk to those with type 2 diabetes, explains Healthline. Falling within the category of sugary drinks alongside sports drinks, fruit punch, and lemonade is soda (per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). That being said, just how much sugar is contained in a standard can of soda, and is it enough to increase our risk for type 2 diabetes?

To put it into perspective, a single teaspoon in a standard can of pop contains 4.2 grams of sugar, reports the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health — but zoom out and that number becomes much larger. In a 12-ounce can of soda, you can find between 7 and 10 teaspoons of sugar. With about 150 calories in a typical can, most sodas are enhanced with sugar additives. What does this mean for our health?

Soda and type 2 diabetes risk

If you consumed a single can of soda each day without reducing caloric intake in other areas of your diet, it could result in as much as five pounds of weight gain annually (via Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). Because weight gain is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, regularly drinking soda can increase our risk for the condition (per Healthline).

How much soda puts us at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to take much. Researchers from a 2010 study published in Diabetes Care analyzed 11 different studies to assess the risk. They found that participants who consumed one to two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages each day, including soft drinks, were 26% more prone to type 2 diabetes than those who drank less than one serving per month.

An alternate 2010 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that this percentage may be even higher. The research showed that those who drank 2 cups of soda on a weekly basis were 29% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Because the average can of soda measures 1.5 cups, this means that drinking any more than one can per week puts you at risk (per The Healthy).