It’s well-known that sugar-loaded drinks are associated with health risks such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Now, a new study shows that regular consumption of sweetened drinks could be associated with liver cancer and chronic liver disease.
The new study, published in JAMA, analysed data collected from almost 100,000 postmenopausal women aged between 50 to 79 years. The findings showed that drinking sugar-sweetened drinks every day is linked to chronic liver disease with a mortality rate of 17.7 per 100,000 person-years, according to Healthline. This number reduced to 7.1 among people who reported drinking three or fewer of these drinks every month.
The study examines a group of people that is usually not associated with regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. “You tend to think of the adolescents, you know, the college students studying for the all-nighter, or someone who plays video games, would be the stereotypical things to think about. But it’s important to realize that you may not realize that you’re drinking more than you need on a daily basis,” Raj Dasgupta, a clinical associate professor at the University of Southern California told Healthline.
The researchers found that sugar-sweetened beverages may contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation which are believed to be linked to liver carcinogenesis and liver health. “It’s just an eye-opener type of research to let everyone be aware of what you put in your body no matter what age you are,” Dasgupta told Healthline. Identification of new dietary factors could help in preventing diseases such as liver cancer.
Notably, no link between such health risks and artificially sweetened drinks was observed. However, artificial sweeteners have been in the news this year for causing various health problems. In May, the World Health Organisation advised not to use non-sugar sweeteners for weight control.
This recommendation was based on the findings of a systematic review of the evidence which suggests that the use of non-sugar sweetener does not show any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children. Furthermore, the results also indicated that long-term use could lead to negative effects such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.