Sugary Beverages May Hasten Onset of Menstrual Cycle

JULY 21, 2015
Girls who frequently consume sugary drinks may start their menstrual periods earlier than those who do not, recent study results suggested. The study, published in Human Reproduction, administered a questionnaire to 5583 girls aged 9 to 14 years, asking them how frequently they consumed various beverages, including soda, fruit mixes, and sweetened ice tea. None of the girls had yet experienced their first period when they joined the study between 1996 and 2001.

The research team found that girls who drank more than 1.5 servings of sugary beverages a day had their first period 2.7 months earlier than those who consumed 2 or fewer such drinks a week, independent of factors such as the girls’ body mass index (BMI), height, total food intake, and physical activity. After adjusting their results to take BMI into account, the researchers still found that girls consuming the most sugary beverages were 22% more likely to start their first period in the next month compared with those consuming the least.

“Our study adds to increasing concern about the widespread consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks among children and adolescents,” said lead author Karin Michels, ScD, PhD, in a press release. “The main concern is about childhood obesity, but our study suggests that age of first menstruation (menarche) occurred earlier, independently of BMI, among girls with the highest consumption of drinks sweetened with added sugar.” The authors noted that earlier menarches are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

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