Sugary Drinks May Increase Risk of Cancer

Sugary Drinks May Increase Risk of Cancer

Linking sugary drinks to health problems is not new. The list of conditions sugary drinks may contribute to includes type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.


Previous studies have observed that the added sugar in soft drinks may fuel tumor growth and spread cancer in rodents. New research explores this relationship between sugar and cancer.


Details of the study


The research team observed various forms of cancer in 101,257 French adults. The average age of the patients was 42.


The types of drinks consumed included milk-based sugary drinks, syrups, soft drinks,  100% fruit juices and fruit drinks,   sports drinks, and energy drinks.


The research also included artificially-sweetened drinks such as sugar-free syrups, diet soft drinks, and diet milk-based beverages.


The study also included data gathered from food questionnaires, recording around 3,300 different kinds of foods and drinks. The participants were also observed for up to 9 years.


Other factors associated with cancer were considered such as sex, age, hereditary risk of cancer, education, smoking, and exercise.


An increased risk of breast cancer 


Throughout the follow-up period of the study, 2,193 people developed cancer for the first time.  693 of the cases involved breast cancer, 291 cases were prostate cancer and 166 involved colorectal cancer.


The study revealed that with a daily increase of 100 milliliters in sugary drink consumption, the risk of cancer rose by 18%, and the risk of breast cancer increased by 22%.


Diet drinks did not increase cancer risk. The participants who consumed diet drinks did so in small quantities, so researchers recommended interpreting this information with caution.


An analysis of the study


The researchers believe that sugary drinks can raise cancer risk because the sugar affects blood sugar, visceral fat, and inflammatory markers. All of these which previously correlated with higher cancer risk.


The number of participants is a strength of the study as well as the information that the researchers gathered.


However, the findings may not be well-representative of the general population, as the study did not represent the wider population well. There were more women with health-conscious behaviors and higher educational levels than the general population. This could have resulted in an even lower cancer incidence in comparison with national estimates.



CCMH is proud to offer cancer care right here at home. To learn about the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma, visit their website at



Thebmj. Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. 10 July 2019.




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