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Fizzy Drinks Don't Cause Cancers

Study Shows No Link Between 2 Cancers of Stomach and Esophagus and Carbonated Beverages
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 15, 2006 -- Drinking carbonated beverages may not raise the risk of certain types of cancers of the esophagus and stomach after all, a new study shows.

In 2004, researchers in India noted that esophageal cancercancer rates had risen along with consumption of carbonated soft drinks.

The new study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, finds no such connection.

"This study gives no support for the hypothesis that the use of carbonated soft drinks contributes to the increasing incidence of this cancer," conclude Jesper Lagergren, MD, and colleagues.

Lagergren and his colleagues looked at two cancer types:

  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma: a common type of cancer of the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach.
  • Cardia adenocarcinoma: cancer of the cardia, the part of the stomach nearest to the esophagus.

They included cardia cancer because it and esophageal adenocarcinoma tend to strike similar groups of people.

Other research has also tilted away from a cancer-carbonation link.

In January 2006, experts at Yale University reported no ties between carbonated soft drinks and esophageal cancer after an observational study of about 1,000 esophageal cancer patients and 687 people without cancer.

The Study

Lagergren and his colleagues looked at three groups of people living in Sweden:

  • 189 esophageal cancer patients
  • 262 cardia cancer patients
  • 820 people without cancer

Participants completed surveys about what they ate and drank currently and 20 years earlier.

The data showed no increased risk of esophageal or cardia cancer among those who reported drinking any amount of fizzy drinks, including soft drinks and carbonated, low-alcohol beer.

The results held after adjusting for factors such as smoking, reflux, BMI (body mass index, which relates height to weight), socioeconomic status, alcohol, and fruit and vegetable intake.

Since this was an observational study, it didn't directly test carbonated drinks for cancer risk, which would require giving some people carbonated drinks and others a placebo to see which group got more cancers. That's a test unlikely to be done.

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