Sugar intake and type 2 diabetes in women.




Diabetes Care

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


Diabetes mellitus, a term that means "the running through of sugar," was first identified in the 1st century AD. The disease was described in old books as "the melting down of flesh into urine." Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where there is less insulin than what the body needs. This can be low insulin, a problem with the release of insulin, insulin that cannot work in the cells that need it, or insulin that is inactivated before it is able to function. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body does not produce or does not use insulin effectively.

Type 2 diabetes appears to be caused by genetic defects that at first make a person not able to respond to the actions of insulin and, over time, the beta cells in the pancreas will stop releasing insulin. However, new evidence points to diet and lifestyle as important factors that may be responsible for the development of the disease. A person over the age of 45 and overweight is a likely candidate for developing type 2 diabetes. About 30-39 percent of Americans are obese, and many more are overweight. Research has shown a strong connection between upper body obesity (people with "apple shapes") and the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus.1

A recent study involving over 39,000 women investigated the possible increased risk of type 2 diabetes and sugar intake. Investigators questioned if the amount or type of sugar intake was associated with an increased risk. The women involved were 45 years or older and all completed a food intake questionnaire. The results showed that there was no association between diabetes or fructose, sucrose, glucose, or lactose intake. This has been one of few studies exploring the link between sugar and diabetes.2


1. Legato MJ. Gender specific aspects of obesity. J Fertil. May1997;42:184-97.
2. Janket SJ, et al. A Prospective Study of Sugar Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women. Diabetes Care. Apr 2003;26:1008-1015.