Consuming just one sugary drink a day can increase a woman’s chance of developing liver cancer, according to research by various institutions that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.
Researchers, including those from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of South Carolina in Columbia, analyzed data from 90,504 postmenopausal women, ages 50-79, for nearly 19 years.
Subjects were part of the Women’s Health Initiative observational study and clinical trials excluding Dietary Modification Trial participants.
According to the data, women who had one sweetened drink each day were 73 percent more likely to develop liver cancer than women who had three or fewer such drinks in a month. Women who drank one or more sweet beverages daily had a 78 percent higher risk, the data showed.
Consuming sugary drinks has previously been linked to developing cardiovascular and heart diseases.
Although soft drink consumption in the United States dipped again for the 13th straight year in 2018, we still drank 38.87 gallons per person. The U.S. has some of the highest consumption rates in the world, with over 50 percent of respondents of a recent international survey stating that they consumed soft drinks at least multiple times in a week, if not every day, according to Statista.
“If our findings are confirmed, reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption might serve as a public health strategy to reduce liver cancer burden,” Longgang Zhao, lead author of the study and doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina, said in a press release. “Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water, and non-sugar-sweetened coffee or tea could significantly lower liver cancer risk.”
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, liver cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, with both diagnosed cases and related deaths on the rise in the U.S.