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The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes?

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More than 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented if the amount of sugar in sweetened drinks was reduced by 40 per cent according to new research.

The study was published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal. It states that this reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) – including fruit juices – over five years could lead to 500,000 fewer cases of people being overweight, one million fewer cases of obesity, and 300,000 fewer instances of Type 2 diabetes, over two decades.

A recent article on the topic quoted Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum:

“It is paramount that everyone in the UK strives to reduce their sugar consumption by half. That’s easier said than done but the 40% reformulation proposed by Action on Sugar would make a significant start.

“As the paper states, people will need time to adjust their taste buds to accept a lower sugar hit and the forum has reservations that such a dramatic cut could be achieved by 2022.”

Here are some points from a recent article on the topic:

  • In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said people should cut their sugar intake in half if they wanted to reap health benefits. It said sugars should make up less than 5 per cent of total energy intake per day for adults and children.
  • The Lancet study was led by Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Action on Sugar group, who said its action plan needed to be backed up by a Government-funded but independent nutrition agency “which can set mandatory targets with robust enforcement”.
  • He added: “In support of this, the British Retail Consortium is now calling for regulated sugar, fat and salt reduction targets. The UK food and drink industry could lead the world in preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
  • In the study, researchers used data to calculate the level of SSB consumption and its contribution to energy intake in the UK population. They then estimated how the reduction would affect body weight per person, and overall results for the adult population.
  • These calculations showed that a 40 per cent reduction in sugars added to SSBs over five years – provided they are not replaced by artificial sweeteners – would lead to an average reduction in energy intake of 38.4 calories per day by the end of the fifth year, in turn leading to an average 1.2kg reduction in adult body weight. This in turn would prevent more than a million cases of disease.

Follow the link to read the full article.

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