Medicine

Having too many sugary drinks linked to higher cancer risk

Having too many sugary drinks linked to higher cancer risk

Researchers in France found that downing a small glass of 100 percent fruit juice or soda - about 3.3 ounces worth - a day was linked to an 18 percent increased risk of cancer and a 22 percent increase in breast cancer.

The scientists at the French Public Health Agency added that "being overweight and weight gain might not be the only drivers of the association between sugary drinks and the risk of cancer".

Sugar-based drinks are being drunk more than ever across the globe and their consumption is linked to obesity, which itself increases the chances of getting cancer.

A group of researchers in France wanted to study the link between high consumption of sugary beverages and the risks of cancer in general, including breast, prostate and bowel cancers.

Cutting down on the amount of sugary drinks we all consume, together with sugar taxes and restrictions on marketing, might help reduce the cancer burden, say the authors.

Obesity is a known cause of 13 different types of cancer but the latest study found that even slim people were at increased risk if they drank sugary drinks or fruit juice.

"However, this assumes that there is a genuine causal link between sugary drink intake and developing cancer, and this still needs further research".

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"It's important for people to know that all beverages - either with sugar or without are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet", Danielle Smotkin, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association said in a statement.

However, Catherine Collins, a dietician in the UK's National Health Service, said that the absence of cancer risk in using diet drinks was the "take-home message" of the research.

"For too long the nutri-myth of sweeteners being a health risk has remained in popular culture".

The results showed that, on average, people consumed 92.9ml per day of sugary drinks or 100% fruit juice, which contains naturally-occurring sugar.

Those taking part had completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, created to measure their usual intake of 3,300 food and beverage items, and were followed up for a maximum of nine years. Risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity, were considered in the study.

He added: "Participants were followed on average for about five years, and 22 participants per 1,000 developed some form of cancer". One of the main factors that cause cancer risk is obesity, based on the study published in BMJ. "This highlights why our United Kingdom sugar levy and controls on the marketing of high-sugar products is so important, not only in terms of obesity but also possibly cancer prevention", said Dr Amelia Lake, reader in public health nutrition at Teesside University. She was not involved in the current study.