By Jim Leffman via SWNS
Drinking just one sugar-sweetened drink such as tea or coffee a day could increase the risk of liver cancer in older women, a new study reveals.
Those who consumed three sweetened drinks a month were 78 percent less likely to get the killer disease than those who had one daily.
The result comes from a study of more than 90,000 post-menopausal women by the University of South Carolina with collaboration from Harvard Medical School and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Lead author Longgang Zhao, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina, said: “Our findings suggest sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a potentially modifiable risk factor for liver cancer.
“If our findings are confirmed, reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption might serve as a public health strategy to reduce liver cancer burden.
“Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, a postulated risk factor for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, may drive insulin resistance and inflammation which are strongly implicated in liver carcinogenesis.
"Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water, and non-sugar-sweetened coffee or tea could significantly lower liver cancer risk.”
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.
The study came about after it was revealed that 40 percent of liver cancer cases could not be explained by chronic hepatitis infection, alcohol consumption or diabetes.
Figures in the US show that the incidence of liver cancer has risen sharply over the last 30 years.
Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks such as fizzy pop and fruit drinks has been linked with a variety of health problems.
Nearly two-thirds of white adults in the US reported at least some sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on a given day in 2017-2018.
The new study analyzed data from 90,504 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term study launched in the early 1990s.
They were tracked for an average of 18 years. Around seven percent reported consuming one or more 12-ounce servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day and a total of 205 women developed liver cancer.
Women consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily were 78 percent more likely to develop liver cancer and those consuming at least one soft drink per day were 73 percent more likely to develop liver cancer compared with those who never consumed these beverages or consumed less than three servings per month.
Although more studies would be needed to determine the factors and mechanisms behind the linkage, researchers said that higher sugar-sweetened beverage consumption might increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are in turn risk factors for liver cancer.
These beverages also can contribute to insulin resistance and to the build-up of fat in the liver, both of which influence liver health.
Researchers cautioned that the study is observational and was not designed to determine whether sugar-sweetened beverages actually cause liver cancer or if consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is an indicator of other lifestyle factors that lead to liver cancer.
In addition, since the study focused on postmenopausal women, studies involving men and younger women are needed to examine the associations more comprehensively.
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