New research conducted by scientists in France has shown that consumption of sugary drinks may increase the risk of cancer.
Sugary drinks, according to the researchers, are identified as ones with more than 5% sugar. It include fruit juice (with or without added sugar), soft drinks, sweetened milkshakes, energy drinks, and sweetened tea or coffee.
In the report, published in the British Medical Journal, the Sorbonne Paris Cité University scientists tracked over 100,000 people who consumed such drinks for a maximum of nine years.
Participants of the study were made to complete 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires designed to measure the usual intake of 3,300 different food and beverage items while other risk factors like smoking were taken into cognizance.
During this period, 2,193 cancer cases were diagnosed — a breakdown of which included 693 breast cancers, 291 prostate cancers, and 166 colorectal cancers — with an average age of 59 years.
The researchers found that a daily 100ml increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.
Subjecting their findings to further scrutiny, they split the group of sugary drinks into fruit juices and others and similarly found that the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer.
According to them, limiting sugary drink consumption, together with taxation and marketing restrictions, might contribute to a reduction in the number of cancer cases recorded annually.
“These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice,” the researchers said.
“It also calls for policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence.”
Previous studies have convincingly associated the consumption of sugary beverages to an increased obesity risk which, in turn, is recognized as a risk factor for many cancers.