Association of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With the Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


The association between sugar-sweetened beverages intake and colorectal cancer (CRC) remains controversial. A metaanalysis was performed to clarify the correlation between sugar-sweetened beverages and CRC risk/mortality. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Sinomed (CBM), Wanfang Data Knowledge Service Platform, and China Science and Technology Journal VIP database. Articles were restricted to be available in any language until March 31, 2022. The highest exposed categories were used to calculate the pooled relative risks (RR) values. Pooled relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to estimate the association of sugar-sweetened beverages with CRC risk and mortality. Heterogeneity was assessed with the Cochran Q statistic and quantified with the I2 statistic. A total of 17 studies (6 case-control and 11 cohort) involving 557,391 subjects were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled RRs for CRC incidence and mortality among people taking sugar-sweetened beverages were 1.17 (95% CI: 1.07-1.28) and 1.13 (95% CI: 0.99-1.29), respectively. In subgroup analysis, a correlation was found in the distal colon with a pooled RR of 1.41 (95% CI: 1.10-1.80). There was no correlation in the proximal colon with a pooled RR of 1.58 (95% CI: 0.79-3.17). We found statistically significant associations between CRC incidence and sugar-sweetened beverages intake in North America and Oceania, with pooled RRs of 1.16 (95% CI: 1.00-1.33) and 1.32 (95% CI: 1.13-1.55), respectively. In sensitivity analysis, after excluding each study and calculating heterogeneity and effect sizes, there was still a correlation between sugar-sweetened beverages intake and CRC risk. This meta-analysis suggests that sugar-sweetened beverages intake may increase CRC risk, independent of CRC mortality. Whether CRC risk increases with increased sugar-sweetened beverage intake needs further investigation in the future. This meta-analysis aimed to indicate the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages intake and the risk and mortality of colorectal cancer. A total of 17 studies involving 557,391 subjects were included. The results showed that sugar-sweetened beverages may increase the risk of colorectal cancer but may not be associated with colorectal cancer mortality.



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