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MDLinxDrinking One Soda or Sweetened Beverage per Day May Increase the Risk of Liver Disease and Cancers, According to New Study

Link Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Liver Disease Risk in Postmenopausal Women Revealed

Recent research reveals a troubling connection between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and an increased risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease-related mortality among postmenopausal women. The study’s results highlight the importance of dietary choices in liver health and the need for further exploration of the subject.

HCN Medical Memo
Physicians, the study brings forth critical insights that could reshape patient dietary guidelines, particularly among postmenopausal women. Although sugar-sweetened beverages were linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease, artificially sweetened beverages did not show the same risk level. This divergence should serve as a point of consideration when offering nutritional advice, especially given the conflicting evidence on artificial sweeteners. Counseling your patients to reduce their sugar intake could be an essential step toward mitigating liver disease risk.

Key Points
  • The research involved 98,786 postmenopausal women with an average follow-up period of 20.9 years, enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative across 40 clinical centers in the U.S.
  • At baseline, 6.8% consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day, which was associated with a significantly higher risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality.
  • Controversially, artificial sweeteners were not linked to a significantly increased risk of liver disease, conflicting with previous European studies.

“This is a fascinating study because we have an epidemic of fatty liver disease in this country…and [this study] provides some idea as to how we can prevent fatty liver disease and liver cancer. It’s extremely important.”
– Anton Bilchik, MD, PhD, Surgical Oncologist and Chief of Medicine and Director of the Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Program at Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA

Additional Points:

  • Nearly 65% of US adults consume sugar-sweetened beverages daily.
  • The study also found that artificial sweeteners did not significantly affect liver disease risk, although this contradicts findings from European studies on the same subject.
  • Other studies have also reported mixed results on the health impact of sugar and artificially sweetened beverages, emphasizing the need for further research.

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