Those who love sugary drinks have a new problem. A recent study connected drinking 100 milliliters of a sugary drink per day to a 20% increase in cancer risk. 100 milliliters is just one third of a can of soda. The study looked at more than 100,000 adults from France, and the results showed an increase in cancer risk among this population.
All Sugary Drinks Are Problematic
The problem isn’t just with soda, either. Fruit juice has also been linked to cancer and premature death. Nutritional researcher Ian Johnson, who reviewed the study, said the results show a significant increase in cancer as study participants increased their sugary drink intake. Johnson said he was surprised that cancer risk increased even among people who consumed pure fruit juice. He says he wants more research on this.
The Study Leader
The study was led by Mathilde Touvier, the research director for the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team. He said that humans should stop drinking sweetened beverages since the main culprit behind the increased risk of cancer is the sugar contained in the drinks.
Touvier added that the high sugar drinks can also cause obesity, and obesity is a risk factor for cancer as well. Another concern Touvier cited is that additives, such as caramel coloring, could increase cancer risk. To avoid these consequences, Touvier suggested that people should stick to the recommended health guidelines and have one sugary drink a day or less.
The Response from Beverage Companies
The American Beverage Association still believes the drinks are safe, however. A spokesperson for the association said she wants people to know all drinks are okay to consume as long as they are consumed in moderation. The spokesperson went on to add that they are trying to help people consume less sugar by providing other choices with less or zero sugar.
No Cancer Link with Diet Beverages
Interestingly, the research team found no link between diet beverages and cancer. However, the researchers stressed that these drinks are consumed less, so the results may be skewed. Additionally, an earlier study found that drinking diet drinks, which are artificially sweetened, increased the risk of death and strokes in women over 50.
Catherine Collins, a dietician, said her big message from the study was actually the absence of cancer risk found in diet beverages, though. She said that it is a myth that these drinks are a health risk, and she does not believe that they are. The types of sweeteners used in these drinks go through a huge amount of testing before being used for consumption.
How the Study was Done
The study began with just over 100,000 French adults. This included about 80,000 women and 20,000 men who participated. The average age of the participants was just over 40. They were asked to fill out two different questionnaires and were then followed for nearly a decade to document their sugary drink use. Their daily consumption of these sugary drinks and of artificially sweetened drinks was then calculated, and then compared with the amount of cancer cases reported among the group. The cancer diagnoses were cross checked with the patient’s medical records to verify.
The study found that men drank more sugary drinks than women in general. The study did also consider other risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, genetics, weight, and smoking. Over 2,000 cases of cancer were reported. 700 were breast, just under 300 were prostate, and just over 150 were colorectal. The researchers pointed out, however, that this is not necessarily a cause and effect relationship. They said this is a limitation of the study because it is difficult to tell if another factor may have contributed to the cancer development.
The team said this does offer more clear evidence that high sugar intake is associated with bad health outcomes.