French Study Warns Cancer Linked With Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

Sugar is one of the most common ingredients in the Western diet, not that it belongs in all of the food where you can find it. Unfortunately, sugar is also one of the most addictive—and dangerous—things you can put into your body.  Sure, it may not have an immediately deadly effect, but a new study warns that simply choosing to drink sugary beverages—like soda—instead of water could dramatically increase cancer risk. 

Conducted in France the study analyzed data collected from more than 101,000 healthy adults in the NutriNet-Sante cohort study.  It should be noted that this population was 79 percent female and 21 percent male, with an average ae of 42 at the time of the study.  This was followed by a nine year follow up (for some but perhaps not all of the participants). 

During the study, the researchers found drinking sugary beverages every day could be linked with higher rates of many types of cancer. In particular, of the 2,193 eventual cancer cases reported, a whopping 693 of them were breast cancer.  They also diagnosed 291 cases of prostate cancer and 166 cases of colorectal cancer. Among these, the average age of diagnoses was 59.

It should be noted that other risk factors—such as smoking and exercise—were also taken into account. 

Specifically, the study appeared to demonstrate that consuming approximately 3 ounces of soda or [100-pecent] fruit juice or other similar “sugar-sweetened” beverages—every day—had an overall increase of cancer risk by as much as 18 percent; and breast cancer risk by as much as 22 percent. Other than that, though, there were no inclinations towards specific types of cancer.

It should also be noted the study did not find the same cancer risk association among artificially-sweetened beverages. However, the researchers advise there may not have been enough data to draw this conclusion since the study focused particularly on sugar.  Thus, the researchers warn, some of the chemical additives found in “artificially-sweetened” beverages might play their own role in augmenting cancer risk. 

The results of this study have been published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).