Your Drink Choices Can Lead to Ulcerative Colitis
By now, most people are aware that drinking habits have an effect on overall health. Sugary soft drinks are often maligned for this very reason. Their empty calories contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and obesity without doing anything good, except perhaps temporarily satisfying a sweet tooth.
But what about other health issues? Can disease risk increase or decrease by drink choice alone?
The answer is yes, and in ways you may not consider. Your favorite drink may play a role in whether or not you develop ulcerative colitis.
Your drinks and your intestines
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease involving extended inflammation of your intestines, so it makes sense that what you drink can affect your colitis. However, there is evidence that your choice of drink also plays a role in whether or not you develop ulcerative colitis in the first place.
For a long time now researchers have noticed that people with a western diet, common to those in North America, are at a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis than people with other diets. Even swapping from a traditional diet to a western one can increase your risk of ulcerative colitis.
But most of the research into this topic has focused on solid foods, not the drinks. Scientists around the world still recorded data about drinks while researching overall diet. Until now nobody has taken a serious look at all of that data to see if any conclusions could be gleaned from it.
Eastern researchers and the Western diet
Some scientists in China realized that nobody had looked at the aggregate data on this topic before and set out on that very quest.
Jia-Yan Nie, MD, and Qiu Zhao, MD, both from the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Hubei Province, China, were the ones to tackle this task. They delved into PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library to find every study they could which even mentioned a beverage and ulcerative colitis. The result they published was aptly named Beverage consumption and risk of ulcerative colitis.
Then they came through on the other side and threw out many papers with incomplete or unusable data to end up with a database of nearly 340,000 people from sixteen studies. Of these, 3,689 people had ulcerative colitis, and 335,339 people were used as the control group.
They split the beverages into tea, coffee, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages of all sorts. They even controlled for bias where they could. In some cases, controlling for bias in one way versus another could end up with different results. The researchers pointed out when this was the case.
The researchers talked about the increase or decrease in the risk of developing ulcerative colitis as a result of drinking certain beverages using relative risk. That term can be confusing for some people so we will touch upon it.
Read on to learn more about risk and the results of this study.