Sugary Soda, Juice Tied to Increased Cancer Risk

Consumption of sugary drinks has risen worldwide in the last few decades file

Threat: Drinking pure fruit juice each day "increased risk of cancer by 18pc".

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.

Of the 2,193 cancers found during the study, 693 were breast cancers, 291 were prostate cancers and 166 were colorectal cancers.

The findings of a large study in France do suggest, however, that limiting intake of sugar-sweetened drinks may help to cut the number of cancer cases in a population, the scientists said.

They concluded in their study published on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal that "the consumption of sugary drinks was significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer".

On average, men consumed more sugary drinks than women - 90.3 ml daily compared to 74.6 ml.

Sugar is one of the most common elements in the average Western diet - it can be found in obviously sugary snacks, but also in products one wouldn't guess contain high amounts of sugar, such as certain breads and savory sauces. This spike in cancer risk was associated with consuming very small quantities of sweetened beverages daily: 100ml (3.3oz), or around one-third of the average can of soda. These adults were 79-percent female and 21-percent male with an average age of 42 when they were added to the study.

A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society (ACS) said the findings should give consumers pause, because obesity is a known risk factor for cancer.

A new study of more than 100,000 healthy adults suggests that regardless of who you are and how healthy your lifestyle may be, if you drink sugar (be it natural or artificial) you are more likely to develop cancer than someone who opts for unsweetened beverages.

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The connection between sugary drinks and cancer remained the same even after the team adjusted for age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking and physical activity, the researchers said.

So, the study can not say that sugary drinks cause cancer.

"I find the biological plausibility of this hard, given there was no significant difference between groups in relation to body weight or incidence of diabetes, which is often cited as an associated risk", Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian, said.

The study uncovered links between the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of cancer in general, and for breast cancer specifically.

The authors said the study is observational, meaning the group can not state sugars cause cancer.

Susannah Brown, acting head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, said the charity's own research had shown a link between obesity and cancer.

"High sugary drinks consumption is a risk factor for obesity and weight gain", she said, and, "obesity is in itself a risk factor for cancer".

"While this study doesn't offer a definitive causative answer about sugar and cancer, it does add to the overall picture of the importance of the current drive to reduce our sugar intake", said Amelia Lake, reader in public health nutrition at Teesside University.

"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..."

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