And which posterior was this pulled out of?

Drinking sugary drinks could be causing nearly 8,000 cases of type 2 diabetes a year, according to research.
A study led by the University of Cambridge found sugar-sweetened drinks could give rise to 1.8 million diabetes cases over 10 years in the United States and 79,000 in the UK.
Academics analysed studies carried out in both the US and UK as they had the most data available, and found sugar-sweetened beverages were consumed by 54.4% and 49.4% of people in each country respectively.
They concluded that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to 2-6% of type 2 diabetes cases in the UK, and 4-13% in the US. This was independent of individuals obesity status.

There’s a certain logical problem with thus sugar/diabetes story.

Diabetes rates are up. Sugar consumption is down. And yet we keep being told that it’s the sugar causing the diabetes.

Umm, what?

43 thoughts on “And which posterior was this pulled out of?”

  1. I would say that they are on to a kernel of truth but it should be more that the link with Type 2 is carbohydrate consumption, not just sugars. Carbs are sugars as far as the body is concerned. Our diets have been skewed towards carbs over saturated fats due to the massive medical profession cock-up over cholesterol being seen as the cause of coronary heart disease, rather than the symptom of another problem.

  2. sugar-sweetened beverages

    Tea and coffee? In fact any drink apart from saccharine replacement.

    This is another “widening of the issue” to point of meaninglessness, like those “human affecting the climate” studies.

  3. All the horseshit suggests that sweet foods are to be the new ciggies. The message in reply needs to be “fuck off” in bright neon letters a mile high.

    Perhaps a petition for the recall of any MP who supports this kind of shit –let alone those who are trying to “become a leadin’ hand in this ‘ere crew ” as the great Robert Newton might have put it.

  4. The jury may be out on whether sugary drinks cause diabetes, but they’re best avoided anyway for the sake of your teeth.

  5. “Diabetes rates are up. Sugar consumption is down. And yet we keep being told that it’s the sugar causing the diabetes.”

    While it’s no doubt a lazy bit of research, the logic isn’t a problem. Say too much sugar does cause diabetes above a certain level of consumption. And say at the start everyone’s consuming the same amount of sugar, which is not quite enough to cause diabetes. Then half the population quits sugar entirely, the other half increase their consumption slightly, enough to push at least some over the edge into diabetes but not enough to compensate for the fall in consumption caused by the other lot quitting it completely. Ta da, sugar consumption down, diabetes up.

  6. The lifestyle risk factors for diabetes 2 are obesity and lack of exercise: ie a surplus of calories leading to weight gain. It really does not matter how many cans of sugary drink you consume if you are not overweight, and if you are overweight and avoid sugary drinks you are still at a higher risk of diabetes.

    As noted before, our calorie consumption hasn’t declined as fast as our calorie expenditure. Too unpopular a message for the health police, an explicit accusation of sloth and greed. Now they can’t blame fat anymore they need a new ‘big business’ culprit they can blame for ‘corrupting’ the children.

  7. No, Jim’s right, and you’re wrong on this one, Tim. Excess sugar consumption does cause type-2 diabetes. The mechanisms of endocrinology are quite well understood now. In fact, it’s been the case for many years that endocrinologists know more about diet than other doctors — yet, sadly, it was the other ones who dominated public policy with their bullshit.

    Sugar consumption is down.

    Well, firstly, it’s not sugar consumption that matters; it’s the amount of excess sugar in your bloodstream, which is a product of both consumption and short-term energy use, so you need to take into account the amount of work people are doing and the fact that they now have central heating. And secondly, carbs are sugars. I don’t think sugar consumption is down if you include carbs, though you may correct me on that. But, even if it is down, excess sugar, after taking short-term energy spending into account, is up.

    But why is this? Ah, yes: because the fucking “experts” kept drumming it into us that we need to eat far more carbs. And they still are, of course: they want to ban sugar from drinks but insist that we eat at least five “portions” of fruit and veg a day and plenty of pasta and rice. Do they not read their own shit before publishing?

    I want a government who respond to “experts” by saying, “Look, you were wrong last time, and wrong the time before that, and the time before that, and the adoption of your advice by previous governments has been actively destructive. So no. Make whatever claims you want, but they’re not being turned into policy.”

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    That’s a great link, Mr E. The bit about recycling at 10:20 shows yet another piece of corporate welfare in the USA. It really is becoming a fucked up place.

  9. @rob w
    It may have escaped your attention that many type 2 diabetics are not fatties; how does that work in your world ? You seem to be under the impression that ‘Lifestyle risk factors’ are causative agents; they are not. Even if increased exercise can ameliorate obesity and delay/prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, and good evidence suggests that it can, that does not mean that lack of exercise is a cause of diabetes. My current headache is not caused by a lack of aspirin. It is pretty obvious that type 2 diabetes is caused by the interplay of a number of factors including diet, genetics/epigenetics and hormonal disregulation. It is a condition of disfunction in blood glucose regulation and, on the diet side, will be most effectively promoted by the consumption of sugar and starches. If you stop eating these types of food your risk drops like a stone, whether or not you’re a fatty.

  10. The study is online, and it is clear it has been written-up to justify a public-health position that health-care costs could be reduced if we ban sugary-fizzy drinks. The study also finds that artificially sweetened drinks (ie no sugar) and fruit juice have a similar effect: Because they don’t like this result they rule out heir own findings by claiming the studies were biased even though they could find no evidence for bias. Most of the studies they analysed were ‘self-reporting’ on type 2 diabetes incidence. The ones that were backed by medical diagnosis did not show any effect from consumption of sweetened drinks.

    Interestingly, average consumption of beverage/person/day in the UK studies was less than half a 330ml can. The risk, in the UK is estimated to be 2-6% of adults/10years from drinking sweetened beverages. Tail of the consumption distribution perhaps?

    They also didn’t rule out reverse causality either – ie people who have diabetes drink more sweetened drinks. Quite plausible as around 20% goes undiagnosed, and one of the clinical indications of diabetes is increased thirst.

    In short, it’s policy-based evidence.

  11. @Squander Two
    Amen to that !

    Is it only doctors and socialists who think that failure is an indication that more of the same, at double the dose, is what is needed ?

    And how the hell did medicine manage to get the public to believe that it is a branch of science ?

    Sigh !

  12. Jon D,

    > It may have escaped your attention that many type 2 diabetics are not fatties; how does that work in your world ?

    I’d say that obesity and type-2 diabetes can both be caused by excess blood sugar. If your pancreas keeps up with the sugar, it turns it into fat. If your pancreas starts to have difficulty processing so much sugar, you have type-2 diabetes.

    Rob,

    > They also didn’t rule out reverse causality either – ie people who have diabetes drink more sweetened drinks.

    You have got to be fucking kidding me. Not controlling for that makes the whole study worthless.

    The thirst of someone with high blood sugar needs to be witnessed to be believed. An undiagnosed diabetic can drink literally gallons a day.

  13. @rob w

    You may well be right about the report; it is, sadly, not unusual for such studies to be driven more by marketing, a perceived just cause, or a political or financial interest than the pursuit of truth. This sort of dishonesty is made far easier because so much research is now just statistical analysis which, as we know, may put it into the realm beyond ‘damn lies’.

    Anyway, the conclusions in this report may well not be justified on the basis of evidence presented but the lack of scientific rigour does not necessarily make the conclusions wrong.

  14. “Excess sugar consumption does cause type-2 diabetes.”

    Nope. You and your friends made that up.

  15. “Diabetes rates are up.” Well, the definition of diabetes was changed to ensure it goes up; so was the incentive structure for doctors. Corrected for these effects, and for an ageing population, has it gone up? I don’t know and there’s a non-negligible chance that nobody else knows either.

    As for waffle about “risk factors” bear in mind that a “risk factor” is not a demonstrated cause, it’s merely a positive correlate.

  16. Epidemiology is good at picking out correlation not causation.
    Selfreporting, ie most research on sugar, obesity and diet, is cheap and unreliable.
    The gold standard is longterm prospective studies where the researcher can control dietary and exercise variables of subjects. This is extraordinarily expensive. An attempt at this is being made, sans any sponsorship from the food industry, by Peter Attia and Gary Taubes founders of the Nutrition Science Institute http://nusi.org .

  17. Taubes. Give me a break.

    He did a spectacular job of killing the Magic Food BS about dietary fat. Only to trot out his new Magic Food BS about carbohydrates.

    There ain’t no Magic Foods. Get over it.

  18. Gamecock: this is about finding facts not supporting theories. Taubes’ demolition of Ancel Keys, patron saint of the anti animal fat league and therefore cheap hydrogenated vegetable oils, ubiquitous in processed foods, was thorough, carefully researched and science journalism as it should be which is why he has a lot of enemies. Continuous exposure to abundant carbs is unusual in our evolutionary when our ancestors frequently fasted and survived famine. Their effects should be thoroughly investigated.

  19. Gamecock,

    Are you going to make an actual claim at some point? Difficult to know what the fuck you’re talking about otherwise.

    > There ain’t no Magic Foods. Get over it.

    Is that even aimed at me? I honestly have no idea. I certainly haven’t claimed there are any magic foods.

  20. Oh, sorry; I see Ljh mentioned Taubes, so presumably you were talking to him.

    You’re still being pretty incoherent, though. I mean, do you know anything about diabetes other than “You made that up!”?

  21. “Their effects should be thoroughly investigated.”

    They’ve been investigated for 40 years. Still nothing.

    Dietary problems are quantitative, not qualitative. But there’s no money to be made in that. It ain’t the food, it’s how much. Eat what you want. If your weight is getting higher than you want, eat less of it.

  22. Gamecock,

    > It ain’t the food, it’s how much.

    Do you at least admit that there is such a thing as poison? Or do you totally reject the idea that consuming different substances has varying effects on our metabolism?

  23. @squander two: spot on. Forget observational studies at this point, this is simple biochemistry/endocrinology. High sugar/carb consumption causes diabetes. It can also cause obesity and is often correlated, but not always. Sir Steve Redgrave is a diabetic. Think exercise balances out all that lucazade? Think again…

  24. Yes, Rathga, you have to distinguish between type-1 and type-2. There’s a strong argument that they should have completely different names, as they’re really not the same disease. Type-1 is not caused by sugar consumption or any aspect of diet; it’s an auto-immune disease (usually; I believe it may also be caused by physical injury to the pancreas).

  25. Reading somewhat between the lines, I think Gamecock is essentially espousing the ‘a calorie is a calorie’ theory, though we are missing the usual angry accusation of ‘1st law of thermodynamics denial’.

  26. “Drinking sugary drinks could be causing nearly 8,000 cases of type 2 diabetes a year, according to research.”

    “Could be.” A useless assertion.

    8,000 is a quantification of bullshit.

  27. Some diabetes is genetically-related, some is not. Trying to make pronouncements based on the age of diagnosis is not helpful. My brother-in-law who has always been skinnier than I (when I was 5′ 8″ and 8 st 6lb he was 5′ 11″ and 9 st!) has a family hiostory of it and developed diabetes when he was 23.

  28. Gamecock,

    > “Could be.” A useless assertion.

    Not useless, no. Assertions like that are the basis of how science progresses. Scientists don’t just experiment at random, you know.

    It is wrong to treat such an assertion as a concrete truth upon which to base policy or a ludicrous 20% tax. Doesn’t make it useless.

    > The cause of diabetes is unknown. That’s it. There is nothing more.

    There’s loads more.

    Firstly, distinguish between type-1 and type-2. It might help you look less ignorant.

    Secondly, try reading what I actually wrote. You appear to be reacting to a statement something along the lines of “Eating sugar always causes diabetes in everyone.” But no-one has said anything of the sort.

    The link you provided contains only a very brief summary, and I don’t think you understand its implications.

    In prediabetes — which can lead to type 2 diabetes — and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it’s needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.

    Note that this happens in prediabetes. If you have prediabetes, you can stave off type-2 diabetes by exercising and making changes to your diet, mainly cutting out sugar and refined carbs and replacing them with slow-release carbs in order to avoid spikes of your blood-sugar levels. Exercise has broadly the same effect: it removes sugar from your blood by actually using it.

    No, no-one yet fully understands why your cells become resistant to insulin in the first place — there are probably a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean that no-one knows whether sugar contributes to type-2 diabetes. Once you have impaired glucose tolerance, higher doses of sugar increase the chances of your developing diabetes. This is well understood.

    Although this latest study appears to be shit on a stick, it is not the first. Sugar in drinks enters your blood more efficiently than sugar from foods — again, that’s not controversial. If you already have a condition that requires you to avoid blood-sugar spikes, sugary drinks are dangerous.

    I’m sure you’ll be outraged to hear that endocrinology consultants have dieticians on staff to advise patients.

  29. Jon,

    > I think Gamecock is essentially espousing the ‘a calorie is a calorie’ theory, though we are missing the usual angry accusation of ‘1st law of thermodynamics denial’.

    Yes, it does look like he is. Why do adherents of that thoroughly disproven idea get so angry about it? It’s weird.

  30. “If you already have a condition that requires you to avoid blood-sugar spikes, sugary drinks are dangerous.”

    That is not the subject. The subject is the cause of diabetes.

    “Excess sugar consumption does cause type-2 diabetes.”

    This is made up. You will find absolutely no support for this in the medical literature.

  31. “Why do adherents of that thoroughly disproven idea get so angry about it?”

    If you eat zero calories every day, you will lose weight. You think that is “disproven?” Thoroughly, no less?

  32. And if you eat nothing but sawdust, which is very high in calories, you will also lose weight. Humans do not contain combustion engines.

    > This is made up. You will find absolutely no support for this in the medical literature.

    Nonsense. If you are prediabetic, you can prevent type-2 diabetes by reducing your blood-sugar levels. If you do not reduce your blood-sugar levels, you will probably become type-2 diabetic. In such cases, consistently raised blood sugar causes type-2 diabetes. And where do you think blood sugar comes from? It comes from consuming sugar.

    It would not be true (or proven) to say that excess consumption of sugar is the only cause or that it always inevitably leads to diabetes or that it causes diabetes all by itself or that it causes diabetes in people who aren’t already prediabetic, and it would certainly not be true if you removed the word “excess”, which contains a whole universe of hedging. But then I didn’t say any of those things.

  33. “Diabetes rates are up. Sugar consumption is down.” I can’t find any evidence to support this claim. Looking at the US, for example, where figures are available, the long term trend has been an increase in both sugar consumption and diabetes.

    OK, correlation isn’t necessarily causation, and there are many technical points to be taken into consideration, but the facts are not in dispute.

  34. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/video/kahn-eating-sugar-cause-diabetes

    Ronald Kahn, M.D. President and Director, Joslin Diabetes Center: Eating a lot of sugar definitely does not cause diabetes.

    =======================

    Squander Two
    July 22, 2015 at 9:55 am

    No, Jim’s right, and you’re wrong on this one, Tim. Excess sugar consumption does cause type-2 diabetes.

    ========================

    Dr. Kahn says you don’t know what you are talking about.

  35. I know it’s been ages and probably no-one’s reading, but here’s that quote in full:

    Eating a lot of sugar definitely does not cause diabetes, if you don’t eat so much sugar that you gain weight.

    Dr Khan says that excess sugar consumption increases the risk of diabetes ten-fold in people with a family history.

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