PARIS, July 11 – Researchers reported today that the consumption of sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice was linked to a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.
The consumption of sugary drinks has exploded around the world in recent decades and high-calorie beverages have already been associated with a high risk of obesity – itself recognized as one of the major risk factors for cancer.
A team of researchers in France wanted to assess associations between increased consumption of sugary drinks and cancer risks in general, as well as several types of cancers, including breast, prostate and intestines cancers.
They interviewed more than 100,000 adults aged 42 on average, 79% of whom were women.
Participants, who were followed for up to nine years, completed at least two validated online dietary questionnaires, calculating their daily consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened beverages, as well as 100% fruit juice.
Researchers measured daily intakes of sugary drinks relative to dietary drinks and compared them to cancer cases listed in participants' medical records during the follow-up period.
They found that an increase of only 100 ml of sugary drinks a day was associated with an 18% increase in cancer risk and a 22% increase in breast cancer.
Sugary drinks and fruit juices have both experienced higher risk associations.
During a follow-up, the researchers found that 2,193 cases of cancer had been diagnosed, with a mean age at diagnosis of 59 years.
The authors of the study, who appeared in the BMJ Medical Journal, stressed that their work was based on observation and therefore could not establish the cause of cancer prognosis.
But the size of the sample was great and they adjusted for a number of other influential factors.
The authors suggested that, based on their findings, the taxation of sweet products could have a significant impact on cancer rates.
"This large, well-designed study adds to existing evidence that the consumption of sugary drinks may be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers," said Graham Wheeler, chief statistician for Cancer Research UK. – AFP