Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increases Risk For Various Lethal Cancers


A new study by researchers from the American Cancer Society-Georgia, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-New York and Flatiron Health Inc-New York has found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) increases risk for various lethal cancers including colorectal and kidney cancers. At the same the study also found a concerning correlation between the consumption of artificially-sweetened beverages (ASBs) and pancreatic cancers that warranted further urgent studies.

The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

According to the study team, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption may be associated with cancer mortality independent of, or indirectly through, established influences on increased body adiposity.
The study team examined the associations of SSBs and artificially-sweetened beverages (ASB) with mortality from all-cancers combined, obesity-related cancers combined, and 20 cancer types, among men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II) prospective cohort. In 1982, 934,777 cancer-free participants provided information on usual SSB and ASB consumption. Deaths were identified through 2016. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models examined associations of beverage types with cancer mortality, without and with BMI adjustment.
The study findings showed that during follow-up, 135,093 CPS-II participants died from cancer.

The U.S. CDC has already warned of the numerous health hazards of consuming s sugar-sweetened beverages.
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Cancer has become a major challenge in the global disease burden. A global estimate of 23.6 million new cancer cases and 10.0 million cancer deaths occurred in 2019, which represented a 26.3% and 20.9% increase in new cases and deaths, respectively [1]. It is estimated that the burden of cancer will continue to increase over the next two decades at least [1].

The existing evidence suggests that obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are directly or indirectly promoted by a high-sugar diet [2]. The similar effects of a high-sugar diet are also observed in the rates of cancer [3,4,5,6]. Therefore, as a substitute for sugar in foods and beverages, sweeteners have become more prevalent over the past few decades [7].

High-intensity sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include six artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, neotame and aspartame) and two natural sweeteners (stevia (steviol glycosides) and Monk fruit) [8]. Since natural sweeteners are still in the developing stage in terms of sensory attributes, dominance duration and extraction technology, artificial sweeteners are still widely used [9].

Some of the metabolic and hormonal changes caused by high-calorie sugars either do not occur or are reduced after consuming artificial sweeteners [10]. Studies have indicated that the release of various hormones and markers of postprandial glucose homeostasis, such as insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), were not significantly altered when artificial sweeteners are delivered directly to the stomach or intestine. Artificial sweeteners alone do not stimulate insulin or incretin release [11,12,13].

In fact, the health and metabolic effects of consuming artificial sweeteners are unclear, and the debate about whether artificial sweeteners themselves increase cancer risk is still not solved. As early as 1970, based on the results of animal experiments, the FDA have suspected that cyclamate (sodium cyclohexyl sulfamate) could induce cancer, thus banning its use in all dietary foods and fruits in the United States [7].

Nowadays, according to the latest report, there is at least a third of adults and children who consume artificial sweeteners regularly in the United States, Europe and Australia [14]. It is due to the increasing availability of new artificial sweeteners and the rising obesity epidemic, thus more “low-calorie” products, especially beverages, are being used [15,16].

Therefore, artificial sweeteners have again been linked to cancer. Although the effect of consumption of artificial sweeteners on gastrointestinal cancers and the intake of soft drinks on the mortality of cancer have been examined via meta-analysis, it is unclear whether artificial sweeteners cause cancer in any form [17,18]. Our study aimed to evaluate the role of artificial sweeteners on the risk of cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality based on the data from all of the current prospective cohort studies.

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