The Link Between Sugary Beverages and Colon Cancer

Recent studies are shedding light on the specific link between sugary beverages and recurrent colon cancer. With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it’s an important reminder to understand how our daily choices may affect the likelihood of cancer recurrence, and what we can do for overall healthier, happier lives.

Adverse effects of sugar on the body

Though most of us know that consuming high levels of refined sugar isn’t great for our health, sugary beverages can be particularly problematic, since it’s rapidly absorbed into the body. This can result in inflammation, dysfunctional cell growth in the pancreas, and elevated insulin levels in the blood. A number of studies have been recently published that are making us think twice about drinking sugar-laden beverages.

Sugar-sweetened beverages and abdominal fat

A recent study conducted over the course of six years led researchers to discover that people who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages (like regular soda and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks) gained far more abdominal fat relative to those who drank the least. Furthermore, another study published noted that excess abdominal fat was linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer, especially in women. (In men, a high amount of body fat in general had a stronger link to colorectal cancer.)

Research conducted on colon cancer patients

With these studies in mind, it leads to the question of whether a link exists between consuming sugary beverages and patients who have already been diagnosed with colon cancer. To investigate, researchers followed the progress of 1,011 patients with Stage 3 colon cancer over the course of seven years. The patients filled out questionnaires prior to their conventional treatment, and again six months after completing treatment, which addressed how many sugary beverages they consumed each day.

The patients were classified into categories based on how many sugary drinks they consumed per day, ranging from those who drank two or more per day, to those who drank fewer than two per month. The sugary drinks documented included colas, fruit punches, lemonades, and similar drinks.

The role of sugar-sweetened beverages on colon cancer recurrence

The study revealed that the patients who drank two or more sugary beverages per day were 84 percent more likely to have a cancer recurrence than those who drank fewer than two per month. In other words, those who drank at least two sugary beverages per day were almost twice as likely to recur as those who consumed minimal amounts of sugary beverages.

In addition, the researchers also found that patients who consumed the most sugary drinks, in combination with being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle, had more than twice the risk of fatality or cancer recurrence than those who had the fewest sugary drinks.

Know your sugar

With this new insight, we strongly encourage cancer patients to avoid all sugary drinks to reduce their risk of recurrence. A regular soft drink, for instance, contains a whopping 39 grams of sugar, which equates to more the nine teaspoons. A 16-ounce vanilla latte at a popular coffee chain contains around 35 grams of sugar.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer or not, it’s important to avoid sugary beverages as much as possible. Try water with lemon, or herbal tea or coffee sweetened with a natural, non-caloric sweetener like stevia, or a glass of natural fruit juice cut with water.

For more information on reducing your risk for cancers, including colon cancer, call The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment today at (877) 41-BLOCK.

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