FRIDAY, May 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Among women, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake is associated with an increased risk for early-onset colorectal cancer (EO-CRC), according to a study published online May 6 in Gut.

Jinhee Hur, Ph.D., from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between SSBs and EO-CRC using data from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991 to 2015) among 95,464 women who reported adulthood beverage intake using validated food frequency questionnaires. A subset of 41,272 participants reported beverage intake at ages 13 to 18 years.

The researchers documented 109 EO-CRC cases. Women who consumed at least two servings/day had more than double the risk for EO-CRC compared with those who consumed less than one serving/week of SSBs in adulthood (relative risk, 2.18; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.10 to 4.35; P for trend = 0.02); the risk increased 16 percent with each serving/day increase (relative risk, 1.16; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.36). EO-CRC risk increased 32 percent with each serving/day increase in SSB intake at ages 13 to 18 years (relative risk, 1.32; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.75). The risk for EO-CRC was 17 to 36 percent lower when replacing each serving/day of adulthood SSB intake with that of artificially sweetened beverages, coffee, reduced-fat milk, or total milk.

“Considering the well-established, adverse health consequences of SSBs and the highest consumption being characterized in adolescents and young adults under age 50 years, our findings reinforce the public health importance of limiting SSB intake for better health outcomes,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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