Drinking just one can of fizzy drink every day could have deadly consequences, scientists warn.
Adults who drank one a day had a 46 per cent increased chance of developing pre-diabetes – when the blood glucose level is higher than normal.
If diagnosed early, it can be beaten through lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise.
However, if left untreated it can lead to type 2, which, if not managed properly, can lead to devastating and fatal complications, including heart attacks.
Sugary drinks were also linked to a rise in insulin resistance, which is known to be a risk factor of type 2 diabetes.
However, diet versions of fizzy drinks did not increase the risk of developing the condition, experts found.
While the highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages had roughly eight per cent higher insulin resistance scores.
Even after accounting for change in weight and other aspects of diet, the relationships between sugar-sweetened beverages and these metabolic risk factors for diabetes persisted.
Lead researcher Dr Nicola McKeown said “Although our study cannot establish causality, our results suggest that high sugar-sweetened beverage intake increases the chances of developing early warning signs for type 2 diabetes.
“If lifestyle changes are not made, individuals with pre-diabetes are on the trajectory to developing diabetes.
“Our findings support recommendations to limit sugar-sweetened beverage intake, which can be achieved by replacing sugary beverages with healthier alternatives such as water or unsweetened coffee or tea.
“This is a simple dietary modification that could be of substantial health benefit to people who consume sugary drinks daily and who are at increased risk of diabetes.”