Sugary Drinks Increase Risk of Cancer

Ellie Teng ‘21

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Figure 1. Consuming sugary beverages is associated with cancer.

Added sugars were long known to have adverse health benefits, but sugary drinks were recently found to be linked to cancer. An increase in the consumption of sugary drinks the past decade is associated with the increase in obesity, which is a risk factor for various cancers. In France, a group of researchers assessed the connection between  the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of cancer. 

The diets of 101,257 healthy French adults were collected through surveys. The participants completed dietary questionnaires that measured the usual intake different food and beverages. Average daily consumption of sugary drinks was found to be greater in men than in women. Following that, 2,193 cases of cancer were identified and studied closely. The results indicated that 100 mL per day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of any cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer. The consumption of artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not linked to cancer, but this may be due to a lower consumption of these types of drinks. The effect of the sugar in sugary drinks on visceral fat, blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers, are also associated with an increased cancer risk.

Other chemical additives found in sugary beverages may also be responsible or exacerbate the physiological effects of sugar on the body.

Since French statistics differ slightly from American statistics, the numbers would be expected to be higher, as Americans consume more sugary drinks. Because correlation doesn’t equate to causation in this type of study, the study should be replicated in a larger scale and other factors should be taken into account.

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