It's no secret that soda is a weapon of waistline destruction. But a new University of Minnesota study revealed that it may be linked to another serious problem. Drinking sugary beverages, it found, may raise your risk of endometrial cancer.
The researchers logged the dietary intake of 23,039 women, then tracked their rates of endometrial cancer over 24 years. At the end of that time, 506 women had been diagnosed with type I endometrial cancer (the kind that's related to estrogen levels). Only one habit was significantly linked to the big C: drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, fruit punch, and lemonade. (Has your sweet tooth gotten the best of you? Try these 6 Ways To Prevent Sugar Cravings.)
The women who downed 2 or more servings of sugary drinks each week were 78 percent more likely to develop type I endometrial cancer than those who avoided the drinks altogether. And the relationship was "dose-dependent", which means the more soda you imbibe, the higher your odds of cancer may be.
Why? It may be a simple matter of excess calories. Sugar-sweetened drinks are chock-full of empty calories, which could raise your risk of obesity. "Obese women tend to have higher estrogen and insulin," says study author Maki Inoue-Choi, PhD. "Both of these hormones are related to higher risk of endometrial cancer." (You can avoid cancer just by living a healthy lifestyle. Check out our 20 simple habits to lower your risk.)
However, in the study, drinking soda was a risk factor for endometrial cancer regardless of body mass index (BMI). "We need to replicate this finding in other studies, because it could be due to chance," explains Dr. Inoue-Choi.
In the meantime, though, it won't hurt to kick the cans, since soda intake has been definitively linked to heart disease and diabetes. "I wouldn't recommend you change your behavior just because of our study findings," says Dr. Inoue-Choie. "What I want to emphasize is that everybody should follow the current dietary guidelines to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages."
There was no link between endometrial cancer and intake of sugar-free soda. However, diet soda isn't exactly healthy, either. So consider making the switch to 100 percent juice -- another drink that wasn't linked to cancer risk in the study -- or unsweetened coffee and tea.
More from MSN Healthy Living:
- 9 breast cancer breakthroughs of 2013
- 10 ways to cancer-proof your life
- How to check for skin cancer
- Bing: Endometrial cancer symptoms
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