In a recent study, researchers found that post-menopausal women who drink large amounts of sugary drinks such as regular coke, lemonade and fruit punch, are at a much higher risk of developing the most common type of endometrial cancer than their peers who stick to sugar-free beverages, according to Fox News.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota used data from 23,039 postmenopausal women who reported dietary intake, demographic information and medical history in 1986, prior to the cancer diagnosis, as part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Dietary intake was assessed using the Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), which asked study participants to report intake frequency of 127 food items in the previous 12 months.
As reported in the study, the FFQ included four questions asking usual intake frequency of sugar-sweetened beverages, including Coke®, Pepsi® or other colas with sugar; caffeine-free Coke, Pepsi or other colas with sugar; other carbonated beverages with sugar; and Hawaiian Punch®, lemonade or other noncarbonated fruit drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was categorized ranging from no intake (the lowest) to between 1.7 and 60.5 servings a week (the highest).
Postmenopausal women who reported the highest intake of sugar-sweetened beverages had a 78% increased risk for estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer (the most common type of this disease). This association was found in a dose-dependent manner—the more sugar-sweetened beverages a woman drank, the higher her risk.
“Although ours is the first study to show this relationship, it is not surprising to see that women who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer but not estrogen-independent type II endometrial cancer,” said Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., research associate, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “Other studies have shown increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has paralleled the increase in obesity. Obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogens and insulin than women of normal weight. Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer.”
Researchers did not find any association between type I or type II endometrial cancers and consumption of sugar-free soft drinks, sweets/baked goods and starch.