Scientists from several institutes in France found that drinking even just a small amount (100 ml) of sugary soda or juice every day may increase cancer risk.
Sugary drinks refer to all non-alcoholic, water-based beverages with added sugar, including soft drinks, flavored mineral water, sports drinks, energy drinks, sugar-sweetened teas, fruit and vegetable drinks, and cordial.
Previous research has found that frequently drinking sugary beverages is linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis.
In the current study, researchers aimed to assess the links between drinking sugary drinks (such as sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened beverages, and the risk of cancer.
They analyzed data from 101 257 participants aged 18 and over from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-2017).
Participants filled out repeated 24-hour dietary records to report their consumption of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages.
The team examined the links between beverage drinking and the risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
The researchers found that drinking sugary drinks was strongly linked to the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer.
Drinking artificially sweetened beverages was not linked to the risk of cancer.
The team also found that drinking 100% fruit juice was strongly linked to the risk of overall cancer.
These findings suggest that drinking sugary drinks was strongly linked to the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer. 100% fruit juices were also strongly linked to the risk of overall cancer.
These results are in line with previous findings. The researchers suggest that sugary drinks, which are widely consumed in Western countries, might be a target for cancer prevention.
One limitation of the study is that the participants of the NutriNet-Santé cohort were more often women, with health-conscious behaviors and higher socio-professional and educational levels than the general French population.
Therefore, these people may have a lower cancer incidence compared with national estimates. In addition, some cancers, such as lung cancer, were not included in the analysis.
The research is published in The BMJ and was conducted by Eloi Chazelas et al.
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