Soda consumption is back in the news. This time, though, that news is reporting on much more than how sugar consumption is linked to the obesity crisis, diabetes and heart disease (as if those problems weren’t enough). FoodFacts.com didn’t actually need any further convincing that soda is an unnecessary beverage — too much sugar, too many bad ingredients and no nutritional benefits whatsoever have left us with a bad taste in our mouths.
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. “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.”
So in addition to all the other valid concerns surrounding soda, this new association with breast cancer is certainly an eye-opening one. While we understand that soda sales have dropped, we know that millions of consumers are still consuming these beverages — and consuming them in excess. We do hope that research like this makes its way into the consciousness of those consumers and that they take it seriously.