Drinks that come packed with one of the most feared diseases in the world! A single glass is enough to expose you to the risk. Experts' conclusions are shocking, as these beverages are part of the daily menu of many people, including children!
A regular intake of sweet drinks in quantities of at least one glass, either with sweetened or natural juice, has been associated with an increase in cancer risk, suggests a study published on Thursday, quoted by AFP and Press Association.
Drinking liquor consumption has increased in recent decades worldwide and has previously been associated with a higher risk of obesity, a major risk factor for cancer.
A team of researchers from France wanted to evaluate the association, less studied to date, between sweetened drinks and cancer risk.
"We found that increasing consumption of sweetened beverages was positively associated with the risk of cancer in general and breast cancer," the authors of the research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) noted.
An increase of only 100 milliliters per day on average in sweeteners, equivalent to a small glass or nearly one-third of the standard dose, is associated with an 18% increase in cancer risk " Dr. Mathilde Touvier, head of the EREN Research Team. In breast cancer, a 22% increase in risk was observed.
The risk is similar whether it is sweetened sweet or pure fruit juice without the addition of sugar. Both types of beverages are associated with a higher risk of cancer in general, according to the study.
The results suggest a 30% increase in the risk of diagnosis with "all cancers" in the group that consumes more sweet drinks than those with a lower intake, Agerpres writes.
Although the study does not have a causal link, it demonstrates a "significant association," as the AFP researcher explained. Study factors were taken into account (age, lifestyle, physical activity, smoking …) that could have influenced the results.
"Sugar is the one that seems to play the leading role in this association with cancer," which could only be explained by the weight gain of study participants.
Obesity is a known cause of thirteen types of cancer, but this study recently found that weak people also have a higher risk if they consume slightly larger quantities of sweet drinks or fruit juices.
The team noted that "overweight and weight gain may not be the only triggers of the association between sweet drinks and cancer risk." Researchers have indicated another study, according to which sweet drinks favor fat around the abdomen, even if a person has a healthy weight that can favor the development of tumors. Another explanation for this association may be the high glycemic index of sweet drinks, the authors said, quoted by the Press Association.
The study, however, did not detect any association between the consumption of artificially sweetened drinks and the risk of cancer, the authors note. However, the statistical power of analysis on this issue is probably limited due to the relatively low consumption of this type of drink in this segment of the population. In other words, the fact that no such association was identified in this study does not mean there is no risk, the researcher explained.
"Sweeteners are not an alternative and are clearly not recommended in the long run," Touvier said. The best way is "sugar reduction," she said.
"In France, the recommendation is less than one (small) glass of fruit juice per day," the specialist recalled.
A sweetened drink contains at least 5% sugar, and 100 milliliters of pure orange juice, without added sugar, contains about 10 grams of sugar (about two cubes), exemplified Touvier.
Researchers interviewed over 100,000 adults participating in the French NutriNet-Santé study, with an average age of 42 years and being predominantly female (79%).
Participants monitored for up to nine years (2009-2018) completed at least two online dietary questionnaires related to their regular diet and daily consumption of sweet (including 100% natural) or artificially sweetened drinks.
During the monitoring, there were 2,193 cases of cancer on average at the age of 59 years.
For the authors of the study, these results "confirm the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations for limiting the consumption of sweet drinks, including 100% fruit juices, as well as political measures", such as taxes and trade restrictions against them.