Is it possible that pancreatic cancer is linked to drinking soda pops? According to a study in 2010 it is.
A study back in early 2010 indicates that drinking two sodas a week increases your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. In fact, the study indicates that it doubles you risk. Nevertheless, the soda manufacturers believe the study is incorrect. This study was published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and was lead by N. T. Mueller, a researcher from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The beverage companies believe this study to be flawed because other research has shown no link between soda consumption and pancreatic cancer.
For those of you who are not familiar with what the pancreas does, it produces the hormone insulin that is responsible for sugar uptake in cells. It also produces pancreatic juice that contains enzymes that break down fats and protein preparing them for absorption by the small intestine. Pancreatic cancer prevents fat and protein digestion creating fatty stools and loss of protein through the stools. Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose and has a high death rate.
Previous studies have brought back mixed results and are not clear as to whether soda increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Mueller and colleagues studied over 60,000 males and females who were enrolled in a Singapore Chinese Health Study in 1993 and followed them for some fourteen years. The patients were questioned about what they ate and beverages that they drank. Patients were questioned about regular or sweetened sodas they drank and nothing specific was asked about diet sodas. Apparently, Singapore had little consumption of diet sodas of any kind. So it seemed irrelevant. As the dietary intake was monitored, Mueller also kept tract of any reported cancers that cropped up. They observed 140 pancreatic cancer cases. They then reflected back to see if there was any link with this cancer and imbibing of sodas.
This study was divided up into 3 categories: no soda consumption, less than two soda consumed per week and 2 or more sodas consumed per week. According to Mueller, patients who drank 2 or more sodas per week (average consumption was 5 sodas) had an increased risk of pancreatic cancer by 87 percent. There was no association between juice imbibing and pancreatic cancer risk. Mueller believes that the increase in sugar intake from drinking sodas increases blood levels of insulin which may contribute to pancreatic cancer.
According to Richard Adamson, Ph.D., scientific consultant for the American Beverage Association, believes this study to be questionable on its interpretation. First off, the number of pancreatic cancer cases was unusually small based on having over 60,000 participants. Not only that, 110 out of 140 individuals who had pancreatic cancer didn’t drink sodas while 12 individuals had less than two serving per week. Adamson reports that previous studies had found no link between soda and pancreatic cancer.