Dr. Jean-Pierre Despres of the Universite Laval in Quebec, scientific director of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk, hosted a symposium on the findings and applications on the importance of healthful hydration in Bozeman, Mont.
"Abdominal obesity is a powerful risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases," Despres said in a statement. "The epidemic prevalence achieved by abdominal obesity can be explained by our sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits, among which an overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages plays a significant role."
Despres says over-consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is one important marker of a poor diet, which contributes to abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular complications.
"To reduce risk of obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, it is important to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and replace them with healthful choices such as water and unsweetened tea or coffee," Dr. Frank B. Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Hu said there is strong epidemiological evidence based on tens of thousands of participants that switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to water could eliminate 1.5 pounds of weight gain during a four-year follow-up and contribute to a 7 percent risk reduction of type 2 diabetes.