Sugary drink consumption increases cancer risk, research suggests

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It also reportedly increases the risk for breast cancer by 22 percent.

For those participants who drank an average of 92.9ml of fruit juice, or sugary drinks, a day, increasing this by just 100ml - so altogether less than a small 200ml glass - increased overall cancer risk by 18%.

When the researchers did a follow-up with the participants, they identified 2,193 cancer cases and the average age of diagnosis was at 59 years old.

Some 21pc of the group were men and 79pc women.

Sugar is one of the most common elements in the average Western diet - it can be found in obviously sugary snacks, but also in products one wouldn't guess contain high amounts of sugar, such as certain breads and savory sauces.

"The results indicate statistically significant correlations between the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and risk of all cancers combined, and of breast cancer", said Ian Johnson, nutrition researcher and emeritus fellow, Quadram Institute Bioscience, who wasn't involved in the research.

A study published earlier this year found that drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drink a day was linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50. These adults were 79-percent female and 21-percent male with an average age of 42 when they were added to the study.

Among women with the highest intake, the risk of breast cancer increased by 37pc.

People who drink a lot of sugary drinks have a higher risk of developing cancer, although the evidence can not establish a direct causal link, researchers said on Thursday.

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

They pointed to other research which suggested that sugary drinks promoted body fat around the abdomen, even if a person was a healthy weight, which in turn promoted the growth of tumours.

The authors warned that this finding should be interpreted with caution, as this type of beverage had a relatively low consumption among the study participants.

Experts now believe people in the United Kingdom have a roughly 50/50 chance of developing some form of cancer during their life.

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

So, it did show that the people who drank the most (about 185ml a day) had more cancer cases than those who drank the least (less than 30ml a day).

"Sugary drinks are known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, overweight, obesity and diabetes", said Dr Touvier.

"These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks", the authors wrote in conclusion. "Instead, rely on water to quench your thirst".

He added: "Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet".

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