In a new study, researchers wanted to better understand why colorectal cancer diagnoses are increasing. In recent years, doctors have noticed a worrying increase in this type of cancer, particularly in people under the age of 50. A new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis appears to have identified the culprit.
Researchers found a link between sugary drinks and an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer in women younger than 50 years old. Research shows that a diet rich in sugary drinks during adolescence (13-18 years) and adulthood greatly increases risk. The study adds to mounting evidence showing the health risks of sugary drinks. Hopefully, the research published online May 6 in the journalit will encourage people to consume less sugary drinks.
What researchers say about the connection between colorectal cancer and soda
“Colorectal cancer in young adults is still relatively rare, but the fact that rates have increased over the past three decades, and we don’t understand why, is a major public health concern and a priority in cancer prevention.” said the lead author. Yin Cao, ScD, associate professor of surgery and medicine in the Division of Public Health Sciences at the University of Washington.
“Due to the increase in colorectal cancer At younger ages, the average age of colorectal cancer diagnosis has dropped from 72 to 66 years. These cancers are more advanced at the time of diagnosis and have different characteristics compared to cancers in older populations.
“Our laboratory is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to identify risk factors, molecular landscapes, and precision detection strategies for these cancers so they can be detected earlier and even prevented.” Cao said. who also has a master’s degree in public health. “In previous work, we have shown that poor diet quality was associated with an increased risk of early-onset colorectal disease. cancer precursorsBut we have not previously looked at specific nutrients or foods. “
Study Showing Sugary Drinks Increase Colorectal Cancer Diagnoses In Women
The researchers compared the cancer risk of women who drank varying amounts of sugary beverages. They analyzed data from women who drank less than one 8-ounce serving of sugary drinks per week. The team then compared these data with women who drank two or more servings a day.
The second group of women had slightly more than twice the risk of developing early-onset colorectal cancer. This means that women were diagnosed before age 50. The researchers found that each 8-ounce serving a day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 16%. The risk doubled between ages 13 and 18, and each daily serving increased the risk of early-onset colorectal cancer by 32%.
Studies have previously found a link between sugary drinks and metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, even in children. However, not much research has been done on the association between sweetened drinks Y colorectal cancer in the young. Teens and young adults ages 20 to 34 consume the sweetest beverages of any age group. Due to the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in women under the age of 50, the researchers wanted to better understand the possible connection.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II. This large population study recorded health information for nearly 116,500 nurses between 1991 and 2015. Every four years, participants answered questionnaires asking about their diet, including questions about the types and amounts of beverages consumed. Among the participants, more than 41,000 also had to answer questions about their drinking habits during adolescence.
Of the nearly 116,500 participants, the researchers discovered 109 early-onset colorectal cancer diagnoses.
Sugar is linked to many health problems, even in the youngest adults.
“Despite the small number of cases, there is still a strong signal to suggest that sugar intake, especially in early life, is playing a role in the future in increasing the risk of colorectal cancer in adulthood before the 50 years, “said Cao, also a member of the investigation. of the Siteman Cancer Center. “This study, combined with our previous work linking obesity and metabolic conditions to an increased risk of early-onset colorectal cancer, suggests that metabolic problems, such as insulin resistance, may play an important role in the development of this cancer in younger adults. “
Due to the increase in colorectal cancer diagnoses, the American Cancer Society recently changed its guidelines for colonoscopy exams. He lowered the recommended age for a first screening colonoscopy to 45, down from the previously recommended age of fifty. However, those with other risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, should be screened even earlier.
While the study shed light on the risks of sugary drinks, there was a caveat in the research. It only included nurses, most of whom were white; therefore, additional studies are needed. The team wants to duplicate the study with people of other races, ethnicities, and genders.
Research also showed that it appears to lower your risk of colorectal cancer by choosing healthier beverages, such as milk and coffee. Of course, the observational study cannot verify with 100% certainty whether sugary drinks cause colorectal cancer. You also cannot prove that drinking milk or coffee protects against this type of cancer. However, researchers say that milk and coffee clearly provide more health benefits if you have a choice.
“With this data in mind, we recommend that people avoid beverages sweetened with sugar and instead choose beverages like milk and coffee without sweeteners.”
Study co-authors include Ebunoluwa Otegbeye, MD, a general surgery resident at the University of Washington who works in Cao’s lab. Collaborators include researchers from Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.
Over the past three decades, researchers have noted an alarming rise in early-onset colorectal cancer in women. A study by researchers at the University of Washington found a link between sugary drinks and this type of cancer. They discovered that drinking sugary drinks doubled the risk of developing colorectal cancer in women under 50 years of age.
The team suggests replacing sugary drinks with milk and coffee, for example, which could have a protective effect. It’s clear that consuming too much sugar causes health problems, but luckily, there are plenty of sugar replacements to choose from today.