Once again research finds that drinking sugar sweetened soft drinks or fruit drinks (not juices) is unhealthy. This time a study found that drinking one or more such beverages daily was linked to a higher rate of liver cancer and death from chronic liver diseases, when compared to those drinking 3 or fewer such drinks per month.
This is an important finding because the majority of adults in the US consume one or more sweetened beverages daily! On the other hand, in this study drinking one or more artificially sweetened soda and drinks daily did not have an increased rate of liver cancer or death from chronic liver disease.
By the way, the researchers kept referring to the sweetener as sugar, but in reality the sweetener in (almost) all such beverages is high fructose corn syrup.
Approximately 65% of adults in the United States consume sugar sweetened beverages daily. Chronic liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and can result in liver cancer and liver disease-related mortality.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, led one of the first studies to look at the association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and incidence of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality. Results are published in JAMA.
This observational study included nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women from the large, prospective Women's Health Initiative study. Participants reported their usual soft drink, fruit drink (not including fruit juice) consumption, and then reported artificially sweetened beverage consumption after three years. Participants were followed for a median of more than 20 years. Researchers looked at self-reported liver cancer incidence and death due to chronic liver disease such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis, which were further verified by medical records or the National Death Index.
A total of 98,786 postmenopausal women were included in the final analyses. The 6.8 percent of women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily had an 85 percent higher risk of liver cancer and 68 percent higher risk of chronic liver disease mortality compared to those who had fewer than three sugar sweetened beverages per month.