Drinking more than 5 servings of sugar-sweetened soft drinks a week prior to conception appears to significantly elevate the risk of developing diabetes during a pregnancy.
In this new study, 13,475 women from the Nurses' Health Study recorded their intake of beverages including soft drinks containing sugar for a period of ten years. During the study, gestational diabetes was diagnosed in 860 study participants.
Gestational diabetes, defined as glucose intolerance beginning during pregnancy, is one of the most common pregnancy complications. Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk for complications and illness during pregnancy and delivery, as well as post-pregnancy type 2 diabetes.
Compared with those who consumed less than one serving of sugary soft drinks per month, women who consumed more than five servings per week had a 22 percent greater risk of gestational diabetes.
No significant association was found for other sugar-sweetened beverages like fruit cocktails or milkshakes, or artificially-sweetened diet beverages.
Consuming a large amount of sugar-sweetened beverages could contribute to a high glycemic load by injecting a large amount of rapidly absorbable sugars into the bloodstream. This rapid spike in blood sugar can result in insulin resistance leading to gestational or type 2 diabetes.
It not clear why only sugar-sweetened soft drink, but not other types of sugary beverages, were associated with gestational diabetes.
This research, which is the first study of its kind, was published in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.