More American women than ever before – about 3.5 million – are now living well beyond a diagnosis of breast cancer, statistics show. Because the disease is so common, protecting women’s health through diet and lifestyle recommendations is critically important.
One of those recommendations may be to avoid sugary sodas, researchers from the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health recently reported. They conducted a dietary study that specifically examined how the long-term prognosis of women with breast cancer might be related to how much sugar-sweetened soda they drank prior to battling the disease.
The research was focused on about 925 women between the ages of 35 and 79 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. These participants, who were enrolled in the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study, were followed for a median of nearly 19 years after food frequency questionnaires measured their non-diet soda intake in the 12 to 24 months before their cancer was discovered.
Among the women who had died by the end of the follow-up period – about 40% of total participants – a higher percentage had reported frequently drinking sugar-sweetened soda compared to the women who were still living.
Why might this be the case? The study’s leaders said that sugary sodas contain large quantities of sucrose and fructose, giving them a high “glycemic load” compared to other beverages. This could lead to a higher risk of breast cancer along with more well-known links to conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, they hypothesized.
“Non-diet sodas are the highest contributors of sugar and extra calories to the diet, but they do not bring anything else that is nutritionally beneficial,” said first author Nadia Koyratty. “While we need more studies to confirm our findings, this provides evidence that diet may impact (the) longevity of women after breast cancer.”