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Consumption Of Sugary Drinks Raises Cancer Risk: Study

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Sugary drinks are associated with a number of health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes to name a few, and yet they are a beverage of choice for many. The findings from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study suggest a possible link between sugary drinks and cancer.

What are sugary drinks?

Sugary drinks, also known as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), are any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose. (Source: CDC).

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) include soft drinks, Cola, other sweetened carbonated beverages, and fruit drinks with added sugar. Artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs), also referred to as non-nutritive sweetened beverages, are marketed and used as a replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages for those who want to reduce sugar and caloric intake. (Source: NCBI).

The Study

As part of the research, 101,257 healthy French adults in the NutriNet-Santé study answered the dietary questionnaires that were designed to measure their usual intake of 3,300 different food and beverage items. The participants were followed up for a maximum of 9 years (2009-2018).

The researchers calculated the participants' daily consumption of sugary drinks (such as sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices) and artificially sweetened beverages, and investigated the cancer risk.

During follow-up 2,193 first cases of cancer were diagnosed and validated.

Bitter Tidings

According to the researchers, a 100 mL per day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.

When the group of sugary drinks was split into 100% fruit juices and other sugary drinks, and their impact on cancer risk was calculated, it was found that the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer.

However, the researchers found no association between artificially sweetened beverage consumption and the risk of cancer in this particular study. That said, artificially sweetened beverages are also said to be associated with health problems. Earlier studies have found an association between artificially sweetened beverages and risk of stroke and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

The findings from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study are published by The BMJ .

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