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Daily Dose: Daily Sugared Drink Intake & Risk of Hepatic Morbidity, Mortality in Postmenopausal Women


A daily dose of clinical news on Patient Care you may have missed.

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Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

Last week, we reported on a study published in JAMA that examined the associations between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and incidence of liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality among postmenopausal women.

The study

A prospective analysis of data on beverage consumption among 98 786 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 to 1998. Participants were followed up to March 1, 2020.

Data from food frequency questionnaires administered at baseline provided the measure of sugar sweetened beverage intake over the study period that was defined as the sum of regular soft drinks and fruit drinks, excluding fruit juice. Investigators measured total intake of artificially sweetened beverages at the 3-year follow-up.

Researchers defined the study’s 2 primary outcomes as incident liver cancer and mortality due to chronic liver diseases including NAFLD, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver diseases and chronic hepatitis.

The findings

Results showed that the incidence of liver cancer was nearly 2-fold higher among those who consumed ≥1 daily serving of sugar sweetened beverages compared with those who consumed ≤3 servings monthly. Chronic liver disease-related mortality among the regular daily consumers of sugary drinks was more than 1.5 times higher than among the low monthly consumers.

Authors' commentary

"In postmenopausal women, compared with consuming 3 or fewer servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per month, people who consumed 1 or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had higher rates of liver cancer and higher rates of death due to chronic liver disease. Future studies should confirm these findings and identify the biological pathways of these associations."

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