High consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk of liver cancer
Zhao L, et al. Association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and liver cancer risk in the Women’s Health Initiative. Presented at: American Society of Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting; June 14-16, 2022 (virtual meeting).
Disclosures: Zhao does not report any relevant financial information.
According to recent data, postmenopausal women who consumed at least one serving of sugary drinks per day had a 78% higher risk of developing liver cancer than those who consumed less than three servings per month.
A non-significant positive association with [artificially sweetened beverage] consumption was also observed,” longgang Zhao, MS, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina, said in a pre-recorded presentation at the American Society of Nutrition’s virtual meeting. “Studies in humans and diverse populations are needed to examine these associations and elucidate potential biological mechanisms.”
Liver cancer incidence has increased over the past 3 decades in the United States, where it is ranked 13th in cancer incidence and sixth in cancer-related mortality.
“Some risk factors for liver cancer have been well studied, including hepatitis, smoking, alcohol, aflatoxin, obesity, diabetes and cirrhosis,” Zhao said. “However, there are still more than 40% of liver cancers that cannot be explained by all of these known risk factors.”
According to Zhao and colleagues, drinking sugary drinks can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, which are strongly associated with liver carcinogenesis. However, there is limited evidence on the association between sugary drinks and liver cancer.
Zhao and her colleagues conducted an observational study using data from 90,504 women aged 50 to 79 who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative. Participants completed food frequency questionnaires between 1993 and 1998. The researchers used the questionnaires to assess consumption of sugary drinks and medical records to identify diagnoses of liver cancer over a median follow-up period of 18.7 years.
The researchers considered one serving of a sugary drink, such as sodas and fruit drinks, to be equal to one 12 fl. oz can or 355 ml. They adjusted their analyzes for age, race and ethnicity, education, alcohol consumption, smoking status, BMI, NSAID use , physical activity, total calorie intake and history of diabetes.
Overall, 7.3% of women consumed more than one serving of sugary drink per day and 205 women developed liver cancer. Zhao stated that higher consumption of sugary drinks was significantly associated with an increased risk of developing liver cancer (1 serving per day versus never
The researchers investigated whether replacing sugary drinks with water or coffee influenced the risk of liver cancer. They reported that replacing one serving of a sugary drink with water reduced the risk of liver cancer by 29% and replacing one serving of a sugary drink with unsweetened coffee or tea reduced the risk of liver cancer. 20% risk.
“Our results suggest that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a potential modifiable risk factor for liver cancer,” Zhao said in a press release. “If our results are confirmed, reducing the consumption of sugary drinks could serve as a public health strategy to reduce the burden of liver cancer. Replacing sugary drinks with water and unsweetened coffee or tea could significantly reduce the risk of liver cancer.
- A study finds a link between the consumption of sugary drinks and liver cancer. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/954878. Published June 14, 2022. Accessed June 20, 2022.
- Zhao L, et al. Association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and liver cancer risk in the Women’s Health Initiative. Presented at: American Society of Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting; June 14-16, 2022 (virtual meeting).