The researchers from Harvard did a computer database search of studies on the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. They also looked at the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, this being a collection of weight related markers linked to heart disease and diabetes. The researchers did a 'meta-analysis' which represents pooled data from different studies and compared intake in highest and lowest bands of soft drink consumption with risk of Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

This database search identified a number of suitable long-term prospective cohort studies for analysis from the already published medical literature. These were then subject to inclusion and exclusion criteria as defined by the authors. The resulting studies, 11 overall from a period of 1966 to 2010 produced data from just over 310,000 participants. This was therefore a relatively large study.

The results were expressed in terms of how much sugary drink intake resulted in how much risk of developing diabetes. The published article suggested that those people with the highest band of intake (1 to 2 servings a day) had a 26% greater risk of developing diabetes than those in the lowest band (less than one serving per month).

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