The #1 Worst Drinking Habit for Your Liver, New Study Says
By now, we all know that drinking alcohol can have negative effects on your liver.
But now, a new study has found that drinking sugary beverages such as soda can increase your likelihood of developing liver cancer.
The study, which was presented at the 2022 Nutrition Live online event, looked at a sample of over 90,000 women who drink sugary drinks compared to those who drank fewer than three per month.
Researchers found that postmenopausal women were at the greatest risk of developing liver cancer. If they drank at least one sugary drink a day, they had a 78% higher risk of cancer.
"Our findings suggest sugar-sweetened beverages are a potentially modifiable risk factor for liver cancer," said Dr. Xuehong Zhang, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. "If our findings are confirmed, reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption might serve as a public health strategy to reduce liver cancer burden."
Zhang noted that while fewer people are drinking sugary drinks now compared to the past, between 2017 and 2018, 65% of white adults reported consuming at least some sweetened drinks on any given day.
Zhang also noted that the recent study does not prove that sugary drinks cause liver cancer, only that there is a link. Still, one should be wary of the amount of soda they drink.
"Soda can wreak havoc on your liver by causing fat buildup, which ultimately leads to liver disease if allowed to persist," Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD previously told Eat This, Not That!. "This is primarily due to the refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup they are filled with. Some studies indicate that refined sugar may have a more damaging effect on the liver than alcohol, especially when consumed in large amounts."
Learn more about keeping your liver healthy with The #1 Best Drink for Your Liver After 40, Says Dietitian.