Posted on Aug 08, 2023, 1 p.m.
According to a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital that is published in the journal JAMA Network Open, women who drink just one soda/pop per day are significantly increasing their risk of developing liver cancer or dying from chronic liver disease.
Chronic liver disease is a major cause of global mortality, in America alone the annual incidence of liver cancer has more than tripled over the past 30 years, increasing from 3 people for every 100,000 in 1985 to 9.4 people per 100,000 in 2015. Known risk factors for liver cancer include but are not limited to diabetes, obesity, alcohol consumption, and hepatitis. It is currently estimated that there will be 41,210 new cases of liver cancer diagnosed across the nation in 2023, and a large portion of that is suspected to be heavily influenced by the 65% of American adults who consume more than 2 sugar-sweetened beverages on a daily basis.
This study involved data collected from 98,786 post-menopausal women between the ages of 50-79 years old who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study over an average period of 20.9 years from 40 clinical centers across the United States. Participants reported their intake of sugary drinks, soft drinks, or fruit drinks, ranging from never to 6+ per day, in addition to the serving size.
Analysis revealed that 6,692 of the participants reported drinking one or more servings of sugar-sweetened drinks daily, 8,506 drank 1 or more artificially flavored drinks daily, and those who consumed more sugary drinks tended to be younger and less physically active. During follow-up, 207 new cases of liver cancer and 148 chronic liver deaths occurred among the participants.
“Results reported in this study demonstrated a statistically significant association of greater sugar-sweetened beverage intake and increased risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality,” note the authors. "This study had several strengths including its large and geographically dispersed cohort and the 20.9-year length of follow-up," the authors added.
According to the researchers, the rates of liver cancer were determined to be 18 per 100,000 person-years among those who consumed 1 or more sugary drinks daily compared to 10.3 per 100,000 person-years among those who consumed 3 or fewer per month. There was no correlation found between a higher intake of artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of developing liver cancer.
The rates of chronic liver disease deaths were determined to be 17.7 per 100,000 person-years among those who drank 1 or more sugar-sweetened daily drinks compared to 7.1 per 100,000 person-years for those drinking 3 or less per month. No significant associations were found between a higher intake of artificially sweetened beverages and chronic liver disease mortality.
"In postmenopausal women, compared with consuming three or fewer servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per month, people who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had higher rates of liver cancer and higher rates of death due to chronic liver disease."
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to report an association between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and chronic liver disease mortality,” says first author Longgang Zhao, Ph.D., of Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Our findings, if confirmed, may pave the way to a public health strategy to reduce risk of liver disease based on data from a large and geographically diverse cohort.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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