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Fruit juices and sugary drinks linked to increased cancer risk

Cover Media logo Cover Media 11/07/2019
a bowl of oranges sitting on top of a wooden table © Provided by Cover Media Ltd

Researchers have found a possible link between sugary drinks and cancer.

The consumption of sugary drinks has increased worldwide during the last few decades and is often associated with the risk of obesity, which is also recognised as a strong factor in the development of many cancers.

Now, a team of experts in France have set about to assess the consumption of sugary drinks, such as sugar sweetened beverages, 100 per cent fruit juices, and artificially sweetened beverages, and risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel cancers.

Using data relating to over 101,000 healthy adults with an average age of 42, the results showed that a 100 ml per day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of overall cancer and a 22 per cent increased risk of breast cancer.

When the group of sugary drinks was split into fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer, though no association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers.

In contrast, the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, however, the authors warned that caution is needed in relation to this finding as there was relatively low consumption in this particular sample.

"These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100 per cent fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence," the researchers concluded.

Accordingly, the authors noted that possible explanations for these results include the effect of the sugar contained in sugary drinks on visceral fat, blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers.

Other chemical compounds, such as additives in some sodas, might also play a role.

Full study results have been published in The BMJ.

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