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An Extra Gulp of Sugary Drink can Increase Risk of Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease

Chronic liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and can result in liver cancer and liver disease-related mortality (

). In such a scenario, approximately 65% of adults in the United States consume


Hence, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at the association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, and incidence of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality. This is the first study to report an association between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and chronic liver disease mortality.

Drinking Sugary Beverages Increase the Risk for Fatal Liver Disease

This observational study included nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women from the large, prospective Women’s Health Initiative study. Participants reported their usual soft drink, and fruit drink (not including fruit juice) consumption, and then reported artificially sweetened beverage consumption after three years (2 Trusted Source
Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Mortality

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Participants were followed for a median of more than 20 years. Researchers looked at self-reported liver cancer incidence and death due to chronic liver diseases such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis, which were further verified by medical records or the National Death Index.

A total of 98,786 postmenopausal women were included in the final analyses. The 6.8 percent of women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily had an 85 percent higher risk of liver cancer and 68 percent higher risk of chronic liver disease mortality compared to those who had fewer than three sugar-sweetened beverages per month.

If this study’s findings are confirmed, it may pave the way to a public health strategy to reduce the risk of liver disease based on data from large and geographically diverse study populations.

Since the study was observational, causality cannot be inferred and relied on self-reported responses about intake, sugar content, and outcomes. More studies are needed to validate this risk association and determine why sugary drinks appeared to increase the risk of liver cancer and disease.

Furthermore, more research is needed to elucidate the potential mechanisms by integrating genetics, preclinical and experimental studies, and -omics data.


  1. Burden of liver diseases in the world – (
  2. Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Mortality – (

Source: Eurekalert

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