New Study Shows Possible Link Between Sugary Drinks And Cancer

Newly released information gives yet another reason to put down that sugar shaker or toss those little crinkly packets. For many people, sugar lands in the "hurts so good" category, with the mighty sweet tooth constantly battling negative health effects. This time, the sugar culprit lies in your cup or can, placing sugary drinks on the front line of health discussions.

Even before this new study, drinking sugar-laden beverages have been linked to cardiovascular and heart disease development, notes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Drinking one to two sweet beverages a day can also lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and premature death, according to WebMD. When comparing men who rarely consume sugar-laden canned drinks with those who consume one can per day, the risk of heart attack rises 20% for those who pop-the-top and guzzle that sweetness.

As if that weren't enough, there's now a new cancer concern. With the United States having the second-highest 2019 soft-drink consumption rates in the world, slightly second to Mexico, per Statista, there's good reason to check out the details of this alarming new data.

The cancer connection to sugar-sweetened beverages

A report by the American Society for Nutrition presents a study of sugary drinks focusing on individual daily consumption. Study participants were part of the Women's Health Initiative, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the results came from more than 90,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79. Researchers from the University of South Carolina and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed the data for almost 19 years and revealed the findings on June 14-16 at the NUTRITION 2022 LIVE ONLINE event.

Here's what they found: women in the study who consumed at least one sweetened drink every day had a 78% higher chance of developing liver cancer than those who only had three or fewer sweet drinks per month. How sugared drinks can create such deadly consequences for the liver potentially comes from the side effects of sugar consumption, explains Insider. Excess sugar can decrease sensitivity to insulin, throwing off blood-sugar levels and stressing the liver. It could also cause weight gain, resulting in fat accumulation around the liver.

The good news is that the study's lead author, Longgang Zhao from the University of South Carolina, called the potential risk factor "modifiable." The findings, if confirmed, suggest that replacing sugary drinks with water or unsweetened coffee or tea could significantly reduce the risk of getting liver cancer. As Zhoa said in the data presentation, per Insider, understanding the risks of sugary drink habits could help us all make healthier beverage decisions.