Ditch the Diet… Drinks

Research finds a link between consumption of low-calorie beverages and proliferative diabetic retinopathy

March 2018

From ginger beer to cola, many people enjoy a refreshing soft drink. Obesity and tooth decay are well-known as potential risks of consuming sugary beverages, but what about their artificially-sweetened, lower-calorie cousins? Evidence is building around the theory that such drinks may not circumvent all potential health issues. And now, a team from the Singapore Eye Research Institute and Centre for Eye Research Australia has found that consumption of diet drinks may be linked with diabetic retinopathy (DR) (1). In a cohort of 609 patients with diabetes, high levels of diet soft drink consumption (over four cans per week) was independently associated with an increased likelihood of having proliferative DR (odds ratio, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.05–5.98) when compared with no consumption. Ecosse Lamoureux, senior author of the study, tells us more.

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