American Beverage Association denies pancreatic cancer link

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The American Beverage Association has denied that there is any link between pancreatic cancer and soft drink consumption, in response to yesterday’s study from an Asian population.

Consultant to the association Dr Richard Adamson said in a statement: "Pancreatic cancer is a serious condition known to have many risk factors that have been identified by leading scientific bodies. These include age, smoking, race, being male, family history and a diagnosis of diabetes or chronic pancreatitis, as identified by the National Cancer Institute ​(NCI) of the National Institutes of Health. Other studies suggest that exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace, obesity or a diet high in fat increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Quite simply, leading scientific bodies from around the globe, including NCI, do not list sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among the risks.

“The authors are skipping several steps in trying to connect soft drinks with pancreatic cancer, including an allegation regarding an increase in insulin production. This was reaffirmed by a 2008 study published in the ​American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that consumption of added sugar or of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages is not associated with overall risk of pancreatic cancer.

“Only 18 out of more than 62,000 person-years were found to both have pancreatic cancer and consume more than 2 soft drinks per week. In addition to this weakness in the study, this same group was made up of individuals possessing traits identified as risk factors by the authors, including: being male, smoking, low levels of physical activity, and a high intake of fats and red meat. Importantly this study did not look at dietary patterns but instead focused on the single item of soft drinks.

“The fact remains that soft drinks do not cause cancer, nor do any authoritative bodies, such as NCI, name soft drinks as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. You can be a healthy person and enjoy soft drinks. The key to a healthy lifestyle is balance – eating a variety of foods and beverages in moderation along with getting regular physical activity."

To read’s coverage of the study, please click here​.

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