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LES ECHOS (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - A new French study has found that the risk of diabetes may actually increase more with the consumption of diet or light soft drinks than with sugary ones.

Researchers at Inserm, the French biomedical and public health research institution, followed the health and consumption habits of 66,188 women since 1993, with the objective to track the link between sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

It was thought that drinking light drinks would reduce the risk of diabetes. But in results presented Thursday in Paris, the study found that the risk of diabetes is actually higher when drinking light drinks than with sugary drinks, French business daily Les Echos reports.

The study, to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that women who consume light drinks have a higher consumption rate than those consuming normal sugary drinks (2.8 glasses/week vs. 1.6 glasses/week in average). Moreover, even when consumed in equal quantities, light drinks are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes: a 15% higher chance for a consumption of 0.5 liters/week and 59% for 1.5 liters/week.

In order to know if the risk is only associated with light drinks, researchers Françoise Clavel-Chapelon and Guy Fagherazzi compared their effects to those produced with pressed fruit juices, but found no direct association with developing the disease.

Fagherazzi said further study is still needed. “We still need a body of evidence," he said, according to Les Echos. "We are not here to say that people need to stop drinking this or this type of drink.”

Among the mechanisms that might explain this phenomenon, they note that sugars contained in sugary drinks cause a spike in insulin and the repetition of such can produce resistance to insulin, an anomaly that causes diabetes. As for aspartame, one of the principal sweeteners used today, it can cause a high glycemic level (spike in blood glucose), and thus an increase in insulin levels, comparable to those caused by sucrose (sugar).

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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