Unveiling the Health Risks: Increased Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Risk Linked to Daily Consumption of Sugary Drinks

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Study Finds Link Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Liver Cancer

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied
the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality.
The study found that postmenopausal women consuming daily sugar-sweetened drinks had a significantly higher
risk of these liver-related outcomes compared to those consuming fewer drinks.

Around 65% of U.S. adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages on a daily basis.

Around 65% of American adults regularly consume beverages sweetened with sugar. Chronic liver disease stands as
a predominant source of illness and death globally, potentially leading to liver cancer and fatalities associated
with liver diseases.

Study Links Sugar-Sweetened Beverages to Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Mortality

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system,
led one of the first studies to look at the association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially
sweetened beverages, and the incidence of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality. The results of the
study were recently published in the journal JAMA.

Key Findings of the Study

  • The study included nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative study.
  • Participants reported their usual consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages.
  • Participants were followed for over 20 years.
  • Women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily had an 85% higher risk of liver cancer and a
    68% higher risk of chronic liver disease mortality compared to those who consumed fewer drinks.

Implications and Further Research

The study highlights the potential health risks associated with regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
However, further research is needed to validate this risk association and investigate the underlying mechanisms
behind the increased risk of liver cancer and disease. Areas for further exploration include integrating genetics,
preclinical and experimental studies, and -omics data.


“Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Mortality”
by Longgang Zhao, Xinyuan Zhang, Mace Coday, David O. Garcia, Xinyi Li, Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Michelle J.
Naughton, Melissa Lopez-Pentecost, Nazmus Saquib, Aladdin H. Shadyab, Michael S. Simon, Linda G. Snetselaar,
Fred K. Tabung, Deirdre K. Tobias, Trang VoPham, Katherine A. McGlynn, Howard D. Sesso, Edward Giovannucci, JoAnn
E. Manson, Frank B. Hu, Lesley F. Tinker and Xuehong Zhang, JAMA.
DOI: 10.1001/jama.2023.12618

The Women’s Health Initiative program is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services through contracts
HHSN268201600018C, HHSN268201600001C, HHSN268201600002C, HHSN268201600003C, and HHSN268201600004C. Zhang is supported
by NIH/NCI grants (R21 CA238651, R21 CA252962, R37 CA262299, U01 CA259208, and U01 CA272452), an American Cancer
Society Research Scholar Grant (RSG-17-190-01-NEC), and an American Cancer Society Interdisciplinary Team Award

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