Sugary drinks are notorious for their health hazards, and unfortunately, Americans are nowhere close to giving them up. A 2012 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans surveyed drank soda on a daily basis. Of the 48 percent who consumed soda daily, the average intake of the beverage is 2.6 glasses a day.
And if you think a lack of awareness is to blame, then think again! A study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Interlex Communications found that most Americans know that drinking soda is bad for you.
Now, researchers have found yet another troubling association with soda consumption: a higher risk of breast cancer in women. Specifically, the scientists discovered that the more sugary drinks a woman consumed, the more density her breasts would have. Breast density is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, since there is less fatty tissue and more cells that are at risk of becoming cancerous.
“Among all women, those who had a sugary drink intake of more than three servings per week had a mean of 29.6 percent in breast density, but those who did not drink this type of drink had a mean of 26.2 percent in breast density,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Caroline Diorio from Laval University in Quebec, to the Daily Mail. “An increase of about 3 percent in breast density is not negligible in terms of breast cancer risk. By comparison, it has been shown that healthy women at high risk of developing breast cancer who received (the breast cancer drug) tamoxifen for four-and-a-half years had a reduction of 6.4 percent in breast density, and it has been observed that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent in high-risk women.”
Think the findings of the study, which was published in the journal BMC Public Health, reveal the only health risk affiliated with soda consumption? Here are four other risks linked with drinking soda.
1. Higher Rates of Type 2 Diabetes
Last year, a study found that consuming one 12-ounce serving of a sugary beverage per day can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent. The study, conducted by researchers at the Imperial College of London, was consistent with previous findings.
“Aside from sugar, there are nine other potentially dangerous ingredients in soda, including carcinogenic artificial colors and phosphoric acid, which can contribute to everything from obesity to cancer to the depletion of micronutrients essential for strong bones,” said Jayson Calton, co-author of Rich Food, Poor Food, a book that explains the hidden dangers in food and beverages, to ABC News.
2. Fatty Liver Disease
Scientists from Israel found that drinking as little as two cans of soda a day can have long-term damaging impacts on your liver. Specifically, the researchers, who published in the Journal of Hepatology, found that 80 percent of those who consumed soda had liver changes.
“We found people who drink more than two cans of Coke a day have increased their chances for a fatty liver, and if left untreated, their chances for heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver also increase,” said Dr. Nimer Assy to The Telegraph.
3. Increased Body Fat
Most sodas contain high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetening agent, and research from Princeton University has found that high-fructose corn syrup makes your body store fat. Similar findings were discovered by Louisiana State University researchers, who wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “The consumption of HFCS increased more than 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group.”
4. Cardiovascular Problems
Earlier this year, a study found that women who consume diet sodas are more likely to develop heart disease. To be more precise, women who consumed two or more diet drinks per day were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack and 50 percent more likely to die earlier than their peers who did not consume soda.