The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between plain water intake and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk. It was hypothesized that higher plain water intake would be associated with a lower T2D risk score. One hundred thirty-eight adults from Southwest and Southeast England answered a cross-sectional online survey assessing T2D risk (using the Diabetes UK risk assessment); physical activity (using the short International Physical Activity Questionnaire); and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beverages (using an adapted version of the Cambridge European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Food Frequency Questionnaire). There was a trend for differences in mean plain water intake between those stratified as having low, increased, moderate, or high risk of T2D; but these did not achieve significance (P = .084). However, plain water intake was significantly negatively correlated with T2D risk score (τ = -0°180, P = .005); and for every 240-mL cup of water consumed per day, T2D risk score was reduced by 0.72 point (range, 0-47) (B = -0.03, 95% confidence interval = -0.06 to -0.01, P = .014). The current study has provided preliminary results that are supported by theory; mechanisms need to be explored further to determine the true effect of plain water intake on disease risk. As increasing plain water intake is a simple and cost-effective dietary modification, its impact on T2D risk is important to investigate further in a randomized controlled trial. Overall, this study found that plain water intake had a significant negative correlation with T2D risk score; and regression analysis suggested that water may have a role in reducing T2D risk.
Keywords: Cross-sectional studies; Diabetes mellitus; Humans; Lifestyle; Risk assessment; Type 2; Water.
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