Small amounts of juice, cola could increase cancer risk, study says

  • Small amounts of juice, cola could increase cancer risk, study says

Small amounts of juice, cola could increase cancer risk, study says

Scientists already know that sugary food and drink causes weight gain and that overweight and obese people have a greater risk of cancer.

After a nine-year period, it was noted that a 100-milliliter (3.4-fluid ounce) daily increase of sugar-based drinks led to an 18% increase in the risk of contracting cancer.

"However, this assumes that there is a genuine causal link between sugary drink intake and developing cancer, and this still needs further research".

Susannah Brown, from the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "This large study provides us with some very interesting data about sugary drinks and cancer, as it suggests that sugary drinks increase the risk of cancer even if you are not overweight or obese".

For the new study, the research team looked at 101,257 healthy French adults - 79% women and 21% men who participated in the ongoing French NutriNet-Santé study.

Those taking part had completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, created to measure their usual intake of 3,300 food and beverage items, and were followed up for a maximum of nine years.

The results showed that, on average, people consumed 92.9ml per day of sugary drinks or 100pc fruit juice, which contains naturally occurring sugar.

Among women, researchers found drinking the same amount was linked to a 22% increased risk of specifically breast cancer in women.

"This large, well-designed study adds to the existing evidence that consumption of sugary drinks may be associated with increased risk of some cancers", Graham Wheeler, from Cancer Research UK said. Sugary drinks such as colas, lemonade and energy drinks have been linked to obesity, which is a cause of cancer, but the French researchers suggest there could also be other reasons sugar could trigger it.

The research spanned a five-year period, starting when the participants were aged 42 on average.

For prostate and colorectal cancers, no link was found, but the researchers said this might have been because the numbers of cases of these cancers in the study participants was limited.

Other explanations for the link between sugary drinks and cancer could be the high glycaemic load of sugary drinks, they said.

Daily consumption of sugary drinks - sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices - and artificially sweetened or diet beverages were calculated and first cases of cancer reported by participants were validated by medical records and linked with health insurance national databases.

Speaking on behalf of the British Fruit Juice Association, registered dietitian Helen Bond said: "The findings of this observational study completely contradict previous clinical trials on 100% fruit juice which makes me suspect that participants were not correctly reporting their consumption of 100% fruit juice".

The research found no link between diet beverages and cancer.

Responding to the study, the American Beverage Association stressed the safety of sugary drinks.