Scientists in the US have found that women who consume sugar-sweetened drinks daily face an increased risk of developing liver cancer and experiencing mortality due to chronic liver disease.
The observational study, led by researchers from Brigham andWomen‘s Hospital, US, included 98,786 postmenopausal women from the prospective Women‘s Health Initiative (WHI) study.
The WHI study focuses on strategies for preventing heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Of the group, the 6.8 per cent women consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily had 85 per cent higher risk of liver cancer and 68 per cent higher risk of chronic liver disease mortality, the study found by observing women for over 20 years.
This data was compared against those who had fewer than three sugar sweetened beverages per month, the study said.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to report an association between sugar sweetened beverage intake and chronic liverdisease mortality,” said Longgang Zhao, first author of the study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open.
“Our findings, if confirmed, may pave the way to a public health strategy to reduce riskofliverdisease based on data from a large and geographically diverse cohort,” said Zhao.
The women participants reported their usual soft drink, fruit drink (not including fruit juice) consumption, and then reported artificially sweetened beverage consumption after three years. They were followed for a median of more than 20 years.
The researchers looked at self-reported livercancerincidence and death due to chronic liverdisease such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis, which were further verified by medical and/or death records.
They said that being an observational study, causality could not be inferred and that they relied on responses that were self-reported.
More studies were needed to validate this risk association and determine why sugarydrinks appeared to increase riskoflivercanceranddisease, they said.