- Harvard team observed a group of nearly 100,000 American women over 20 yrs
- Compared drinking habits to rates of liver cancer cases and liver disease deaths
- READ MORE: FDA rejects WHO’s claim sweetener aspartame causes cancer
Women who drink just one sugary soda per day are at a much higher risk of developing liver cancer, a study suggests.
A team from Harvard Medical School in Boston observed a group of nearly 100,000 American women over the age of 50 who were followed for over 20 years.
Women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened sodas per day were 85 percent more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer in that time compared to those who consumed fewer than one a week.
Daily soda drinkers were also 68 percent more likely to die from liver disease than those who drank three or fewer per month. However, the researchers note the overall risk of death was still very low – with only around 150 fatalities from the disease in the trial.
No correlation was observed between liver cancer and those who drank artificially-sweetened beverages – despite recent concerns that the popular sweetener aspartame may be linked to the formation of tumors.
America’s 25 sweetest drinks RANKED: Mountain Dew had the most sugar of all drinks on the list, while Brisk Lemon Tea had the least. All of the beverages, however, were either well over or close to the daily recommended limit of sugar set by the American Heart Association
Commenting on the study Dr Pauline Emmett, a senior research fellow at the University of Bristol, said: ‘Although this study is observational so can’t give cause and effect, we know from a body of evidence that it is worth thinking twice before choosing to drink sugar-sweetened beverages every day.’
High sugar drinks are often high in calories and raise the risk of obesity, which itself is a risk factor for cancer and liver disease.
The massive dump of sugar can also lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, which raises the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The study followed 98 786 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who had enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 to 1998 at 40 clinical centers in the US.
They were followed up to March 1, 2020.
Around 6.8 per cent of women reported consuming one or more servings of sugar-sweetened drinks each day, while 13.1 per cent drank one or more artificially-sweetened drinks a day.
Results of the study were given in ‘person years’ – a measurement which comprises both the number of people in the study and the amount of time each person spends in the study.
The study found that rates of liver cancer amounted to 18 per 100,000 person-years in women who consumed one or more sugary drinks a day, but a lesser 10.3 per 100,000-person-years in women who consumed three or fewer per month.
Rates of chronic liver disease deaths were also found to be 17.7 per 100,000 person-years in women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day, but 7.1 per 100,000 person-years in those who drank three or fewer per month.
Differences in artificially-sweetened beverage intake were, again, not found to be significantly associated with chronic liver disease mortality.
The study, published in the journal Jama Network Open, reads: ‘Compared with three or fewer sugar-sweetened beverages per month, consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day was associated with a significantly higher incidence of liver cancer and death from chronic liver diseases.’
The authors added that, though their study had been unable to identify the way in which sugar-sweetened drink consumption was associated with liver disease, some ‘potential pathways’ included obesity, dramatic increases in blood glucose and an accumulation of fat around the liver.