Coffee and soft drinks have little or no association with colon cancer risk, study says

May 07, 2010

Drinking even large amounts of coffee and sugar-sweetened, carbonated soft drinks is not associated with the risk of colon cancer according to a large study published online May 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Some previous studies have suggested that coffee and tea may lower the risk of cancer, but others show that they could increase the risk. Tea, for instance contains anti-oxidants that in theory help prevent cancer but also has polyamines, which in theory promote cancer. Sugar-sweetened are associated with weight gain, obesity, and other conditions that are potential risk factors for .

For this study, Xuehong Zhang, M.D., Sc.D., and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from 13 studies conducted in North America and Europe. Among 731,441 participants in these studies, there were 5,604 who developed colon cancer. Those who drank large amounts of coffee—more than six 8-oz cups a day—were no more likely to develop the disease than those who drank less.

Likewise, those who drank more than 18 oz daily of sugar-sweetened, carbonated beverages had no higher risk of colon cancer. But the authors note that the results for sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages should be interpreted with caution because only 2% of the study population drank more than 18 oz of these beverages daily.

The results were similar regardless of sex, smoking status, , , level of , and location of the tumor.

The authors found a modest association between drinking high amounts of non-herbal tea—more than four 8-oz cups a day—and colon cancer risk. However, they note that very few people in the study drank that much tea and that the association could be due to chance.

"Drinking coffee or sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks was not associated with colon cancer risk," the researchers conclude. "However, a modest positive association with higher tea consumption is possible and requires further study."

In an accompanying editorial, Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., and Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D., of the Arizona Cancer Center, note that this study is a valuable contribution to the literature but that more research is needed on the links between childhood consumption of soft drinks and disease. "Contrary to coffee and tea consumption, intake of sweetened beverages begins in childhood in many countries," they write. "Furthermore, sweetened beverage consumption is generally much lower among older adults. These differences in exposure suggest that intake of sweetened may need to be assessed earlier in life to adequately assess its association with health outcomes."

Explore further: Study pinpoints microRNA tied to colon cancer tumor growth

More information: Journal page: jnci.oxfordjournals.org

Related Stories

Sweetened beverage consumption increases in the US

Dec 11, 2008

Over the past two decades, the number of adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches has increased dramatically, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg ...

Dietary factors appear to be associated with diabetes risk

Jul 28, 2008

Drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages or eating fewer fruits and vegetables both may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas eating a low-fat diet does not appear to be associated with any change ...

Researcher finds reason for weight gain

Apr 22, 2009

Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, is the lead author of a research paper showing that weight gain and obesity are more linked to ...

Sugary drinks, not fruit juice, may be linked to insulin

Sep 05, 2007

Steady increases in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages over the last several decades, as well as rates of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, led nutritional epidemiologists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Recommended for you

Study pinpoints microRNA tied to colon cancer tumor growth

1 hour ago

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified microRNAs that may cause colon polyps from turning cancerous. The finding could help physicians provide more specialized, and earlier, treatment before colon cancer ...

Obesity tied to higher cancer risk for CRC survivors

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients who are overweight or obese when diagnosed appear to face a slightly higher risk for developing a second weight-related cancer, according to research published ...

User comments : 0