Fertility and pregnancy

Cola linked to pregnancy diabetes

Zone default image Risk of complications, illness

If you are trying for a baby, you may want to cut down on sugary cola drinks.

New research has found that women who drink five or more servings of sugar-sweetened cola per week before becoming pregnant are at greater risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus, also known as glucose intolerance, is one of the most common health problems associated with pregnancy.

Women who develop the condition are at increased risk for complications and illness during pregnancy and delivery, as well as type 2 diabetes once the baby is born.

The condition also puts the child at higher risk of obesity, glucose intolerance, and early onset diabetes.

In the study, teams of researchers analysed ten years of information from 13,475 women collected as part of the US Nurses' Health Study II.

After taking into account other risk factors for glucose intolerance such as body mass index, diet and exercise, the results showed that women who drank more than five servings of sugar sweetened cola per week before being pregnant, were 22% more likely to develop gestational diabetes when compared with women who drank less than one serving per month.

No increased risk was found for other sugar-sweetened or diet drinks.

"We don't know why significant association was only found in sugar-sweetened cola, but not other types of sugar-sweetened beverages – fruit drinks, other soft drinks, etc.," said Dr. Liwei Chen from the New Orleans School of Public Health, who led the study.

"One of the explanations could be the tremendous popularity of cola in the US."

Although the researchers could not say for sure how sugary cola drinks increase a woman's risk of diabetes during pregnancy, they noted that regularly drinking them has been shown to be linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

"This is the first study on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on GDM risk," said Dr. Chen.

"This finding is important because sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet, particularly in the age group most likely to conceive. Cutting down sugary drinks is clearly an important way to reduce this common pregnancy complication."

The study is published in the December issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

This article was published on Thu 3 December 2009

Image © Anatoly Tiplyashin - Fotolia.com

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