Soft drink consumed weekly
So, how many times do you drink soft drinks in a week? According to the study, those who consume two or more soft drinks weekly had an 87% increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not. Soft drink portions were defined as one glass, and one glass being defined as equal to 237 mL.
No association with fruit juice noted
The high glycemic load of soft drinks and fruit juices have led to the hypothesis that they may cause pancreatic cancer. The surge in insulin levels that these beverages cause is believed to trigger pancreatic cell growth. However no association was established between fruit juice intake and risk of pancreatic cancer. The failure of the study to find a link between the two is attributed to three things mainly, lack of subjects who drink fruit juice, the difference in sugar component of fruit juice itself compared to the sugar component of soft drinks (fruit juice has lower sugar content), and lastly, the more healthy lifestyle of fruit juice drinkers compared to the lifestyle of soda drinkers.
Lifestyle plays a role
But don't release the confetti yet, because in an age-adjusted analysis, smoking was noted to be a risk factor. The authors found that current smokers had a 49% increased risk for pancreatic cancer compared with never smokers.
Further studies needed
The authors of the study take the results as an evidence to the ties between pancreatic cancer and sugar-sweetened beverages but also admits that the need for further studies still exists.
My bad romance with soft drinks
The results of this study serves as an eye opener for me to start cutting off on my soft drink intake. Since I started earning for myself (which was not too long ago really, since I have spent a big chunk of my life studying and burying myself in books), soft drinks have been very accessible.
It was worlds different from my younger days when my parents would only decide to buy a liter of Coca-Cola (there were no 1.5L or 2L serving portions then) when our viand was quite special than what we usually have, or when relatives come over to visit, or during pay days, apart from special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and despidida parties. I remember how the sight of a smokin' cold liter of Coca-Cola just brought in by the househelp, would brighten my face and my sister's too. One whole liter of that would be shared by all five or six of us in the house.
Another funny thing (and reality) is that we only get to drink soda, especially the Royal Tru-Orange flavor, when we were sick. I don't really know if that is the case with you when you were kids, or is it? That is how that running joke started - when someone serves or drinks Royal Tru-Orange, we usually ask in jest, "Gihilantan ka?" ("Are you having fever?"), because that is the only time we get to drink Royal Tru-Orange, and sometimes, we get Sprite with crackers like Sky Flakes, a combination believed to have anti-pyretic (fever-lysing) properties - with emphasis on believed.
Fast-forward to now, the 1.5L of Coca-Cola is almost always on my grocery list. Today, I rarely have a soda-free week. During duties at the hospital, the canteen is just a mere one-minute walk away, and you can then drown yourself up with all the soft drink you can gulp. These days, the access has become so easy to the point that my 2L of Coca-Cola is just standing beside my plate. Supply has even quadrupled considering that a 1.5L or a 2L is shared by only one or two persons in the house.
My mother, the mother that she is, has started to notice my toxic love affair with soft drinks and has somehow expressed her concern. It was even her who made me realize that I barely even drink a glass of water in a day. Usually, I take coffee in the morning, have soft drink during meals, and nothing else. No pure, crystalline, water taken in. That is why, now, I confess to you that this study result really makes me cringe. I hope it's not too late to start working on increasing my water consumption and lessening my soft drink intake. Actually, I'm willing to work on that because one of my goals this year is to have a healthy body, a healthy lifestyle. I was willing to work on that goal even before I read the study, but now I am even more willing to do that. Truly, the strategy most often used by doctors such as that of scaring patients a bit to make them more compliant with their medications or with lifestyle modifications, work. I feel that strategy working on me now. Talking about falling into one's own trap.
Anyway, let's see if I get through this self-imposed challenge. And I hope my mother notices, with all the mother that she is. And when she does, I hope she will candidly remark, "Hey, you seem to be drinking more water these days." And in my mind, a triumphant musical score will play.
How about you, do you have a bad romance with soft drinks, like I do?