We all know people who drink soda day and night, yet somehow manage to remain slim and trim.
Don't envy them--because that stick-figure waistline alone doesn't mean they're healthy. In fact, that soda habit is almost certainly doing real harm on the inside.
A new study finds that sugar-sweetened drinks can increase your risk for diabetes, which isn't surprising. But what might stun you is that even soda slurpers who never gain an ounce have a higher risk for the disease.
Looks like bad habits will catch up to you no matter what size jeans you squeeze into.
Researchers examined data from 11 studies involving 310,819 patients. Eight of the studies focused on type 2 diabetes, while three looked at metabolic syndrome.
The studies used food frequency questionnaires--generally not the best way to examine the health effects of specific foods, since they rely on memory and estimation.
But since most people have a pretty good idea of how much soda they drink each day, this one can't be dismissed as easily.
In any case, the researchers found that those who drank one or two sugar-sweetened drinks a day had a 26 percent increase in diabetes risk, and a 20 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to those who drink little to no sugary drinks.
But the researchers also found that while the risk wasn't as high when they adjusted for body mass, it didn't disappear, either. In fact, it only fell by around half, according to the study in Diabetes Care.
In other words, even people who keep the weight off and "reward" themselves with a sugary drink or two each day still have an increased risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
That's because soda can cause quick spikes in glucose and insulin levels. If your levels spike too quickly too often, say a couple times a day when you suck back a soda, you can develop the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes--no matter what you weigh.
And if that's not enough to get you off soda and other sugary drinks, consider everything else these bad beverages will do to you.
Soda can increase your risk of heart disease, hypertension, liver problems, tooth decay and has even been linked to the cell damage that leads to conditions such as Parkinson's disease.
And men, soda might even reduce your sperm count. (Read more about that here.)
Diet soda isn't much better for you--studies have found that those who make the switch can still gain plenty of weight. What's more, those drinks contain artificial sweeteners that can actually be far worse for you than plain old sugar.
If you need some fizz, try seltzer with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
And if you want to drink something sweet, end your day with a glass or two of wine instead.