Fan of soda? Association found between colon cancer and sugary drinks, though no direct links identified

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Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

[A] new study, published in the medical journal Gut, examined the link between colorectal cancer and sweet drinks in 94,464 female registered nurses who were enrolled in a long-term prospective health study between 1991 and 2015, when they were 25 to 42 years old. 

Over an average 24 years of follow-up, they found 109 cases of colorectal cancer among the nurses (the absolute risk for colon cancer in younger people is still small). But compared with women who averaged less than one eight-ounce serving of sugar-sweetened drinks a week, those who drank two or more had more than double the relative risk for the disease. Each additional serving of sweet drinks increased the risk by 16 percent. 

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The study showed only an association, so could not prove cause and effect. But Nour Makarem, an assistant professor of epidemiology… said, “This is robust evidence, novel evidence that higher intakes of soda are involved in a higher risk for colorectal cancer. We know that sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to weight gain, glucose dysregulation and so on, which are also risk factors. So there’s a plausible mechanism that underlies these relationships.”

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