London: Diet fizzy drinks, touted as healthier substitutes are likely to push up diabetes risk by 60 percent, rather than the regular versions, says a European study involving more than 66,000 women.
Diet drinkers also consume more or an average of 2.8 glasses a week which compounds the effect, as compared to 1.6 for regular drinkers. Regular, full-fat versions have previously been suspected of causing diabetes.
More than 66,000 middle-aged French women were quizzed about their dietary habits. Their health was then monitored over 14 years from 1993 to 2007, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports.
The researchers, from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, examined the rates of diabetes among women who drank either regular or diet fizzy drinks and those who drank only unsweetened fruit juice, according to the Daily Mail.
Those who drank up to 359 ml of any type of fizzy a week - just more than a regular-sized can - were a third more likely to develop the disease. The risk was more than double in those who drank 600 ml a week - just bigger than a regular bottle.
Drinkers of diet drinks had an even higher risk of diabetes compared to those who drank regular ones. Those who drank up to 500 ml a week had a 15 percent increased risk.
Once more than 1.5 litres a week was consumed, this became a 60 percent increased risk.
"Contrary to conventional thinking, the risk of diabetes is higher with light beverages compared with regular sweetened drinks," the researchers said.