Science 3 min read

Study Suggests A Possible Link Between Sugary Drinks and Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common caused of deaths around the world. Now, scientists are exploring the potential link of sugary drinks with this dreaded disease.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Image Credit: Pixabay

A recent study published in the BMJ suggests a possible link between high consumption of sugary drinks and increased risk of cancer.

Since 2000, sugary drink consumption has been at a steady decline. That said, Americans still consume a lot of sweet drink – twice as high as it was in the past generations.

An estimate shows that the country consumed about 200 calories of sugary drinks per day between 2011 and 2012.

Although past researches have linked the drink with obesity, we still didn’t know how it could cause cancer. So, a team of France-based researchers decided to explore this topic.

For their study, they decided to examine the link between the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of cancer. These include breast, prostate, as well as bowel (colorectal) cancers. They chose to focus on three categories of drinks:  sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially-sweetened beverages, and 100 percent fruit juice

They invited 101, 257 healthy French adults to participate in a NutriNet-Santé cohort study. It’s a study that examines the relationship between nutrition and health.

Sugary Drinks and Cancer: Finding the Link

Participants were asked to complete at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires. In order to assess the intake of 3,300 different food and beverage items, the researchers designed detailed queries that date back over nine years.

The participants wrote their daily consumption of sugary drinks and their first cases of cancer report, which the researchers validated through medical records. Then, they accounted for established risk factors for cancer.

These include sex, age, educational level, smoking status, physical activity levels, and history of cancer.

According to the findings of the study, men consume more sugary drinks than women. During follow-up, the researchers noted 2,193 first cases of cancer diagnosis at an average age of 59 years.

Of the 2,193, 693 of the participants were diagnosed with breast cancer, 291 had prostrate cancers, and 166 had colorectal cancers.

Also, the result linked 100 mL per day increase in sugary drink consumption with an 18 percent increased risk of cancer, and a 22 percent risk of breast cancer.

While the result remained the same for 100 percent fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverage, the researchers found no link between artificially sweetened (diet) drinks and risk of cancer.

How Does Sugary Drink Increase the Risk of Cancer?

Since the study was observational, the researchers were unable to establish a cause. However, possible reasons include the effect of the sugars on visceral fats, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar levels. Chemical compounds such as additives could also play a role.

In conclusion, the authors wrote:

“These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% 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.”

Read More: How to Train Your Brain to Eat Less Sugar Using Video Games

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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