Type 2 Diabetes – Research Shows Sugary Soft Drinks Are A Risk Factor for Gestational Diabetes


Sugar-sweetened soft drinks have long been a known risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, so it should not come as a surprise to find they raise the risk of developing Gestational diabetes or diabetes of pregnancy, as well. In February of 2017, the journal Clinical Nutrition reported on a study relating to this subject from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. The study taking place over three years included 172 new cases of Gestational diabetes in 3396 women. Mothers with the highest consumption of sugary soft drinks were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes during their pregnancy than those who drank few or no sugary beverages. No link was seen between diet soft drinks and the Gestational diabetes risk.

Another study carried out at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February 2017, also compared sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption and the development of diabetes during pregnancy. Scientists there came to the same conclusion regarding sugary soft drinks and went on to find the consumption of French fries were also linked with Gestational diabetes.

A total of 168 pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 40 kept 4-day diaries of their food consumption. An oral glucose tolerance test found fewer cases of Gestational diabetes in mothers consuming healthy diets, including nutritious foods such as…

  • fruits,
  • berries,
  • vegetable oils,
  • nuts,
  • seeds,
  • pasta,
  • breakfast cereals,
  • coffee, tea and cocoa powder.

The women who chose to eat healthy foods were half as likely as those with unhealthy food choices to develop diabetes during their pregnancy. This was true for both the overall group and the overweight and obese women. Gestational diabetes was seen in…

  • 2.3 percent of normal-weight women, and
  • 18.3 percent of overweight and obese women.

According to the Mayo Clinic in the United States, there are five serious consequences linked with Gestational diabetes…

  • a high birth weight,
  • prematurity,
  • respiratory distress,
  • low blood sugar levels, and
  • a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

In Gestational diabetes, as in all kinds of diabetes, the patient’s blood sugar is higher than normal. Sugar crosses the placenta and causes the baby to add too much fat, just as it does in adults. Overweight and obese infants often go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

High blood sugar levels can cause early labor and preterm birth, or overweight babies may be induced to avoid c-sections. In either case, a premature baby’s lungs lack surfactant, a liquid that helps them to expand and contract. Respiratory distress can result.

Low blood sugar can occur when the infant’s pancreas makes too much insulin to overcome the high amount of blood sugar from the mother.