The relationship between sugar and human health is a complex one, but new research has added some valuable new detail around the habitual consumption of the sweet stuff. The study suggests that drinking two or more servings of sugary drinks each day can carry an increase in mortality risk from obesity-related cancer, seemingly tied to a higher body mass index (BMI).
The study focused on sweetened beverages and their relationship to mortality risk from various cancer types. The data concerned the consumption habits of more than 900,000 subjects who were cancer-free in 1982, with a follow-up assessment then made in 2016.
At this point, 135,100 participants had died from cancer, with examination of the association with beverage consumption habits offering some useful insights. Among them was the finding that men and women who drank two or more servings (one serving is 12 oz, or 355 ml) of sugar-sweetened beverages each day had a five percent increase in risk of death from not all cancer types, but obesity-related cancer specifically. This increased risk became null after adjustment for BMI.
The scientists therefore conclude that this higher mortality rate stemming from sugary drink consumption was partially mediated through obesity, and that future research should consider the role of BMI in studies of cancer risk from sweetened beverages.
“These results should inform public policy regarding sweetened beverage consumption to decrease the risk of cancer for men and women in the US,” said Dr. Marjorie McCullough, lead author of the study.
The research was published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Source: American Cancer Society