Guzzling soda is of course bad for your waistline, and now researchers say their study supports a “strong link” between sugary drinks and a higher risk of biliary-tract cancers in the people who consume them.
The findings, which appear in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, came from analyzing the drinking habits of more than 70,000 adults, then tracking their health for the next 13 years. People who knocked back at least two sodas (or even high-sugar-content juices) per day had more than twice the risk of developing gallbladder tumors, and a 79 percent greater chance of getting biliary-tract cancer, as compared to those who didn’t consume any sugary beverages. Soda drinkers were also more likely to be overweight, but the authors say the increased risk of these rare cancers didn’t budge even after controlling for diet, weight, and other health factors. They write that soda increases blood sugar, makes people gain weight, and can help cause type-2 diabetes — all of which put a person at increased risk for those cancers.
They also caution it’s merely a link to, not a cause of, cancer, and for some reason the study skipped out on a seemingly important detail — distinguishing whether the sodas were the regular sugar-laden kind or diet — but it’s clear the group drinking them definitely got more cancer regardless. “This finding signals again and again that healthy lifestyle is the key to cancer-free life,” one researcher explains. “Regardless of the cause, it is easy enough to quench the thirst with water to stay fit and healthy.”