Soda Linked to Pancreatic Cancer, FML

2 or More Soft Drinks per Week May Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Along with tanning beds and your commitment-phobic friend with benefits, soft drinks might be joining the blacklist of guilty pleasures that are harmful to your health. According to a recent study, people who drink two or more soft drinks (defined as sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages) a week may nearly double their risk of developing pancreatic cancer, a rare but deadly form of cancer with an average five-year survival rate of only five percent.

The high levels of sugar found in non-diet sodas might be a cause. Our expert, Los Angeles internist Dr. Andrea Ruman, explains that consuming high concentrations of sugar can increase the level of insulin in the body, exposing the pancreas to high levels of the hormone. This is dangerous because, as Dr. Ruman explains, "Research has shown that insulin may promote pancreatic cancer cell growth." There is still more work that needs to be done, however, to understand the potential link between high consumption levels of sugary sodas and pancreatic cancer.

The study didn't detail whether high consumption levels of other sugary indulgences, such as candy and baked goods, could increase your risk of pancreatic cancer. But Dr. Ruman thinks that it might: "I would hypothesize that any food high in sugar that contributes to weight gain, high insulin levels and diabetes might also indirectly contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer. The problem is trying to design a good experiment in which to prove cause and effect."

Indeed, it is difficult to prove that there is a causal relationship between consuming sugary foods and pancreatic cancer. In the case of this study, researchers recognize that soft drink consumption may be associated with other harmful habits, such as smoking cigarettes and eating red meat, and thus it remains unclear whether there is a direct causal relationship between drinking soda and pancreatic cancer.

But, as any woman who has braved the "Freshman 15" and lived to tell the tale can attest, consuming sugary junk is not without its consequences.


American Association for Cancer Research (2010, February 9). Soft drink consumption may markedly increase risk of pancreatic cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from


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