According to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who drink soda and other sugary beverages may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
The consumption of sugar-filled drinks raises blood sugar and has been linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. As the aforementioned conditions are often associated with tumors along the biliary tract, researchers launched a long-term study in order to determine whether a link existed between sugary drinks and gallbladder and biliary tract cancers.
"Soda consumption has been inconsistently associated with risk of biliary tract cancer (only one prior study) and other cancers in previous similar studies," explained lead study author Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, as reported by Reuters.
Over 70,000 Swedish adults between the ages of 45 and 83 were observed from the Swedish Mammography Cohort and Cohort of Swedish Men. At the beginning of the study in 1997, none of the participants had diabetes or cancer. Half of the individuals were determined to be overweight, and about 25 percent of the participants were smokers.
When the study began, participants were asked how many sodas and juice drinks they tend to consume. Their eating and drinking habits were surveyed over an average of 13 years.
Approximately 150 participants developed gallbladder or biliary tract cancers during the study. However, compared to individuals who did not consume sugary beverages, participants who consumed at least two sodas, juice drinks, and artificially-sweetened sodas a day were 79 percent more likely to get biliary tract cancer and more than twice as likely to develop gallbladder cancer.
"[T]his study suggests that there is more than a plausible link," said Dr. Margo Denke, a former researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Although researchers cannot yet explain the exact causes behind this connection, it is clear that a healthy diet plays a role in trying to keep these tumors at bay. Dr. Igor Astsaturov, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia said, "Regardless of the cause, it is easy enough to quench the thirst with water to stay fit and healthy."