Soft drinks and other sweetened beverages may contribute to risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, research has not addressed higher risk and Asian populations. The authors examined the association between soft drinks and juice and the risk of type 2 diabetes among Chinese Singaporeans enrolled in a prospective cohort study of 43,580 participants aged 45-74 years and free of diabetes and other chronic diseases at baseline. The incidence of physician-diagnosed type 2 diabetes was assessed by interview and validated; 2,273 participants developed diabetes during follow-up. After adjustment for potential lifestyle and dietary confounders, participants consuming > or =2 soft drinks per week had a relative risk of type 2 diabetes of 1.42 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.62) compared with those who rarely consumed soft drinks. Similarly, consumption of > or =2 juice beverages per week was associated with an increased risk (relative risk (RR) = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.58). The association was modified by 5-year weight gain for > or =2 soft drinks per week among those who gained > or =3 kg (RR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.34, 2.16) compared with those who gained less weight (RR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.41). Relatively frequent intake of soft drinks and juice is associated with an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes in Chinese men and women.