The photo has been used for illustrative purposes. TNS
The consumption of sugary drinks has exploded worldwide in recent decades and the high-calorie beverages have already been associated with a elevated risk of obesity — itself recognised as a leading cancer risk factor.
A team of researchers in France wanted to assess the associations between heightened consumption of sugar drinks and the risks of overall cancer, as well as several cancer types, including breast, prostate and bowel cancers.
They surveyed more than 100,000 adults, with an average of age of 42, 79 percent of whom were women.
The participants, who were followed for a maximum of nine years, completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, calculating their daily consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened beverages as well as 100 percent fruit juices.
Researchers measured the daily intakes of sugary drinks against those of diet beverages and compared them to cancer cases in participants' medical records during the follow-up period.
They found that just a 100 ml increase per day of sugary drinks was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of cancer, and with a 22 percent increase in breast cancer.
Both sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices saw a similar higher risk association.
Authors of the study, which appeared in the BMJ medical journal, stressed their work was based on observation and so could not establish the cause of cancer prognoses.
But the sample size was large and they adjusted for a number of other influential factors.
"This large, well-designed study adds to the existing evidence that consumption of sugary drinks may be associated with increased risk of some cancers," Graham Wheeler, senior statistician of the Cancer Research UK said of the study.
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