Diet beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners occupy a unique category in the food environment as they are a source of intensely sweet taste with no calories. Diet beverages are the single largest contributor to artificial sweetener intake in the U.S. diet, and people with diabetes are the highest consumers of diet beverages, tending to consume them as a replacement for dietary sources of sugar, especially in place of sugar-sweetened beverages. This behavior has been endorsed by dietetic and scientific organizations, and diet beverages are marketed as being synonymous with better health, suitable for weight loss, and thus advantageous for diabetes control. The underlying public health concern is that there are few data to support or refute the benefit or harm of habitual diet beverage consumption by people with diabetes; therefore randomized trials with relevant outcomes must be conducted because they would address many limitations of previous research and have major implications for dietary recommendations on diet beverage intake and primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease. To begin addressing this important scientific gap the investigators are testing the effect of diet beverage intake on diabetes control parameters in free-living adults with type 2 diabetes in a randomized, two arm parallel trial with a run-in period of 2-weeks and an active intervention period of 24-weeks. This study will recruit 200 patients with type 2 diabetes who are usual consumers of commercial diet beverages and randomize them to receive and consume either: 1) A commercial diet beverage of choice (3 servings or 24 oz. daily); or 2) Unflavored bottled water of choice (sparkling or plain) (3 servings or 24 oz. daily). The primary outcome will be a central measure of clinical diabetes control in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). The study will also measure the nature and magnitude of glycemic excursions via continuous glucose monitors, as well as clinical markers of cardiometabolic risk and kidney function. Lastly, investigators will measure plausible mechanisms whereby diet beverage intake may alter risk by assessing the effect of diet beverage intake on the functional composition of the gut microbiome via stool samples and comprehensive metabolomics, satiety hormones, as well as usual dietary intake, and upstream behavioral pathways which may inform dietary intake patterns.
Effect of Artificially Sweetened Beverages on Diabetes Control in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes