Diabetes and heart disease risks can be substantially reduced by replacing fizzy drinks with water, academics have argued.
Results can show loss of weight and a 7% less chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
The NHS says an estimated 2.8 million people in the UK have type 2.
Harvard University scientists working with the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR) have presented such findings to a conference in Montana, USA.
Frank Hu, a professor based in the university’s public health faculty, said: “There is convincing evidence that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with increased risk of obesity and diabetes, and emerging evidence that these beverages increase the risk for heart disease.
“To reduce risk of obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, it is important to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and replace them with healthier choices such as water and unsweetened tea or coffee.”
ICCR said at least 100,000 people get type 2 diabetes every year.
It added that it believes 26 million people in the UK will be classed as obese by the year 2030.