BACKGROUND: Recent animal studies suggest that artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) consumption increases diabetes risk.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the relation of ASB intake with newly diagnosed diabetes and measures of glucose homeostasis in a large Brazilian cohort of adults.
METHODS: We used cross-sectional data from 12,884 participants from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). ASB use was assessed by questionnaire and newly diagnosed diabetes by a 2-h 75-g oral glucose tolerance test and/or glycated hemoglobin. Logistic and linear regression analyses were performed to examine the association of ASB consumption with diabetes and continuous measures of glucose homeostasis, respectively.
RESULTS: Although ASB consumption was not associated with diabetes in logistic regression analyses after adjustment for body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) overall, the association varied across BMI categories (P-interaction = 0.04). Among those with a BMI <25, we found a 15% increase in the adjusted odds of diabetes for each increase in the frequency of ASB consumption per day (P = 0.001); compared with nonusers, ASB users presented monotonic increases in the adjusted ORs (95% CIs) of diabetes with increased frequency of consumption: 1.03 (0.60, 1.77), 1.43 (0.93, 2.20), 1.62 (1.08, 2.44), and 2.51 (1.40, 4.50) for infrequent, 1-2, 3-4, and >4 times/d, respectively. In linear regression analyses, among normal-weight individuals, greater ASB consumption was also associated with increased fasting glucose concentrations (P = 0.01) and poorer β-cell function (P = 0.009). No such associations were seen for those with BMI ≥25. In fact, in overweight or obese participants, greater ASB consumption was significantly associated with improved indexes of insulin resistance and 2-h postload glucose.
CONCLUSIONS: Normal-weight, but not excess-weight, individuals with greater ASB consumption presented diabetes more frequently and had higher fasting glucose and poorer β-cell function.