What the beverage industry doesn’t want you to know about sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes has been scientifically linked to sugary drink consumption. Just one to two sugary drinks a day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 26%.(1) This life-threatening health condition has reached epidemic levels, having risen three-fold in the last 30 years and affecting more than 29 million Americans.(2)

If current trends continue, 40% of all Americans will get [type 2] diabetes in their lifetimes(3) and half of Latino and African American children born in 2000 will get [type 2] diabetes sometime in their lives.(4)(5) Already, almost one-quarter of teens have either [type 2] diabetes or pre-diabetes – double the rate of just 10 years ago.(6)

Liquid sugar is a unique driver of today’s skyrocketing [type 2] diabetes and obesity epidemics.(7) We absorb liquid sugar in as little as 30 minutes, much faster than a candy bar, leading to a spike in blood sugar that the body is not well equipped to handle, particularly over and over.(8) These spikes in blood sugar overwhelm the body and lead to the body turning sugar into fat in the liver, which contributes directly to the development of [type 2] diabetes.(9)

Complications of diabetes include: heart disease, nerve damage, gum infections, kidney disease, hearing impairment, blindness, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.(10) Diabetes cost the United States an estimated $245 billion in 2012, with $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in indirect costs such as lost productivity, disability and premature death.(11)

Youth lead the conversation

The Bigger Picture Campaign is a collaboration between Youth Speaks Inc. and the University of California, San Francisco's Center for Vulnerable Populations designed to combat the rising epidemic of type 2 diabetes by empowering youth to change the conversation about the disease, and work to change the social and environmental factors that have led to its spread. Watch this video now to see The Bigger Picture in action


  1. Malik, V. S., & Hu, F. B. (2012). Sweeteners and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes: the role of sugar-sweetened beverages. Current diabetes reports, 12(2), 195-203. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11892-012-0259-6
  2. American Diabetes Association. 2014 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2014.  http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics.  Accessed June 23, 2014.
  3. Gregg, Edward W., et al. “Trends in lifetime risk and years of life lost due to diabetes in the USA, 1985–2011: a modelling study.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (2014).
  4. Naryan KM, Boyle J, et. Al. Lifetime Risk for Diabetes Mellitus in the United States.  AMA. 2003;290(14):1884-1890.
  5. Narayan KM. CDC issues diabetes warning for children. ADA Meetings. New Orleans, La; June 14, 2003.
  6. May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW.  Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999-2008. Pediatrics. 2012; 129(6):1035-1041.
  7. Centers for Disease Control.  Long-Term Trends in Diagnosed Diabetes, 2011. http://cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/long_term_trends.pdf.  Accessed June 23, 2014.
  8. JP, Shapira N, Debeuf P, et al. Effects of soft drink and table beer consumption on insulin response in normal teenagers and carbohydrate drink in youngsters. Eur J Cancer Prev 1999;8:289–95.
  9. Mayes, PA (1993). Intermediary metabolism of fructose. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 58: 5, 754S-765S.
  10. American Diabetes Association. Complications. Web. Accessed on January 16, 2014 at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/
  11. Centers for Disease Control.  National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014.http://www.cdc.gov/diabeteS/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf, Accessed June 23, 2014.