Teenagers who drink more than one standard can (375g) of sugary drinks a day are putting themselves at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease such as heart disease or stroke in later life.
New research from the Raine Study at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR) - an affiliate of The University of Western Australia - found that teenagers who drank about a can of soft drink a day had lower levels of ‘good' cholesterol and higher levels of the ‘bad' triglyceride form of fat in their blood, regardless of whether they were overweight.
Based on a combination of factors associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease - including weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels - these teenagers were at higher risk of developing cardio-metabolic disease later in life.
The study, published in the latest edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed more than 1400 teenagers aged between 14 and 17 years from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.
"What is important about this study is that excessive sugary drink consumption appears to increase risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, even in young people who are not overweight," said lead researcher and UWA Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Dr. Gina Ambrosini. "This study shows that greater intakes of sugary drinks may put young people on a path to the early development of risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease."