Sugary drinks increase the risk of breast cancer

A drink of 100 mL of an extra sweet drink a day, two cans per week, would increase the risk of cancer by 18%, according to French research. The culprit? Sugar.

We know that sugar is not good for our health! It has already been singled out in the development of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease. According to a new French study, published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday, July 10, sweetened beverages also increase the risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.

To reach these conclusions, the nutritional epidemiology research team at Inserm followed the eating habits of more than 100,000 people for nine years (78% women and 21% men). They defined as liquids drinks containing more than 5% of sugar in their composition. This included fruit juices (even without added sugars), soft drinks, milks, teas or sugary coffees and energy drinks. At the end of the research, 2,193 cancers were identified among the participants, including 693 breast, 291 prostate and 166 colon.

The researchers finally concluded that a 100-mL increase in a sugary drink a day, about two cans a week, would increase the risk of developing cancer by 18 percent. And they did not notice any difference between 100% pure juice and a soda. A result that does not prove the connection of cause and effect, but which demonstrates a “significant association”, they explain. Other populations will have to be studied for definitive proof.

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In addition, sweet drinkers are more likely to adopt other unhealthy behaviors, such as consuming more salt or calories, which also increases the risk. Scientists have, however, taken into account socio-demographic and lifestyle data of volunteers (age, sex, alcohol consumption, level of education, physical activity, etc.).

Excessive intake of sugars also increases weight gain. Obesity is a major factor in many cancers. These data suggest an association between sugary drinks and tumors. But again, researchers say sugar is not the only culprit. They also suspect that some chemicals incorporated, such as those that give a beautiful color to the product, are also to blame. The so-called “sugar-free” and “zero-calorie” dietary drinks, containing sweeteners, have thus been studied. But no link has been found yet.

“These data confirm the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit the consumption of sugary drinks, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy measures such as tax restrictions and marketing restrictions targeting sweetened beverages,” their report.

These conclusions are consistent with what Public Health France recommends, that is to say to drink less than one glass of sweet drink per day. Since 1 July 2018 in France, a “tax soda” is also in force to fight against the explosion of diseases related to sugar.

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Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.