Drinking Soft Drinks Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer, New Study Finds

by Melissa Diane Smith

People who drink two or more sweetened soft drinks a week have an 87 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer, a particularly deadly form of cancer, according to a 14-year study of 60,000 people just published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth,” said Mark Pereira, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Minnesota, who led the study.

Elevated levels of insulin, which occur in response to high sugar intake, increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, and high sugar intake is also believed to fuel some forms of cancer because tumor cells use more glucose than other cells.

More than 37,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States each year, and more than 34,000 die from the disease each year. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is only 5 percent.


Challem J, Berkson B, Smith MD. Syndrome X. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000.

Mueller NT, Odegaard A, Anderson K, et al. Soft drink and juice consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: the Singapore Chinese health study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2010;19(2):447-55.

Study links sugary soft drinks to pancreas cancer. Reuters, Feb. 8, 2010 – link to story.

Melissa’s Comments:

Soft drinks are like poison to our systems. They are “liquid sugar” and are linked to conditions that you might expect liquid sugar to be linked to – obesity, metabolic syndrome (a prediabetic condition and cluster of common heart-disease risk factors), type 2 diabetes, and now pancreatic cancer. Soft drinks are routinely sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which more often than not contains mercury, a toxic metal that has been linked to neurological disorders, memory impairment, and heart disease.

Soft drinks are one of the worst food/drink products ever created and none of us should be drinking them to control our weight and maintain our health. Those are simple facts based on the evidence – and many people intuitively know this. But the trouble is many people who start on soft drinks have great difficulty getting off them, even when they know they should. That’s because soft drinks are plainly and simply addictive for some people, in ways that are similar to the ways cigarette smoking, alcohol and certain drugs are. Especially under times of great stress, the combination of caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup may temporarily make people feel better. But it does so, just like a smoking, alcohol or drug addiction does, at great expense to what it is doing long term to our body.

Having had lots of experience working with clients with disordered blood sugar metabolism, I can tell you that quitting soft drinks is the most important way to beat excess weight, prediabetes, and diabetes, to normalize heart-disease risk factors, and to reduce your risk for many types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. When people kick the soda habit, they often can drop 20 to 30 pounds just by making that one change alone, and over time, other blood-sugar- and insulin-related health conditions improve. Unfortunately, if people watch what they eat but still keep drinking soft drinks, they can’t get very far in improving their health or losing weight. The soft drinks do so much damage that they sabotage even our best efforts toward eating better food.

Are you tired of letting soft drinks control you and giving some of your hard-earned money to manufacturers of beverages linked to disease, but don’t know how to go about kicking the soda habit? If so, work with me and let me help you. In my nutrition counseling and coaching practices, I can offer advice to nutritionally support your body so you can successfully kick the soda habit (and dramatically lessen all the diseases linked to it) for good. That is the most powerful way to show the soft-drink manufacturers who is boss.

Copyright © 2010 Melissa Diane Smith

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