Posted on Jul 12, 2019, 5 p.m.
It is well established and documented that sugary drinks are bad for your health, now a study published in The BMJ has reported a possible link between higher consumption of sugary drinks and increased risk of cancer.
Observational results yielded should be interpreted with caution, but they do add to a growing body of evidence supporting drastically limiting consumption of sugary drinks. Finding such as these paired with marketing restrictions and taxation may help to lead to a reduction in cancer cases.
Around the globe consumption of these types of beverages has increased, this trend is linked to increased risk of obesity which in itself is a risk factor for many cancers. Research on sugary drinks and the risks of cancer is limited, researchers designed this study to determine the associations between sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices and artificially sweetened and diet beverages with the risk of overall cancer as well as specific cancers.
101,257 adults were included in this study who completed at least two 24 hour online validated dietary questionnaires designed to measure intake of more than 3,000 distinct food and beverage items, who were followed up with for a maximum of 9 years; risk factors for cancer such as age, sex, smoking status, family history, and physical activity levels among others were taken into account.
Average daily consumption was greater in men than women; during follow up 2,193 first cases of cancer were diagnosed and validated with an average diagnosis age of 59 that included 693 cases of breast cancer, 291 cases of prostate cancer, and 166 cases of colorectal cancers.
100 mL per day increase in consumption of sugary drinks was found to be associated with an 18% increased risk for overall cancer, and a 22% increased risk for breast cancer; fruit juice and sugary drink consumption were found to be associated with higher risk of overall cancer; and consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, although it was noted that there was relatively low consumption of artificially sweetened beverages in this study sample.
Possible explanation for the increased risk of cancer include the effect of sugar on visceral fat along with its effect on blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers; other chemical compounds such as additives could also be playing roles.
As this is an observational study cause can’t be established, but due to the large sample size the researchers were able to adjust for a number of potentially influencing factors after which the results were largely unchanged after further examination suggesting findings will withstand scrutiny.
“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,” the study authors conclude.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.