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Sugary drinks associated with an increased risk of cancer

Daily consumption of a small glass of sugary drink could increase the risk of cancer by 18%. Sodas are also associated with liver diseases.

By Nathan Mann Posted today at 10h57, updated at 11h42

Time to Reading 5 min.

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In Paris, April 19th, 2017.
In Paris, April 19th, 2017. Benoit Tessier / REUTERS

Sodas have a bad reputation. The sugars and additives they contain sometimes cause consumers to avoid them and prefer syrups and juices to quench their thirst. Bad calculation: if sodas are harmful to health, even 100% pure juices do not do much better.

If the harmful consequences of sodas consumption in terms of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are known, their links with cancer remained less studied. A study, published on July 11, in the British Medical Journal lift the veil on this subject. Its authors estimate that the daily consumption of a small glass of sweetened beverage, soda and fruit juice, could increase the risk of cancer by 18%.

Read also Three quarters of 4-7 year olds consume too much sugar

This is the study of the French cohort NutriNet-Health – functioning self-declaration on the Internet and is still in progress – which allowed researchers to highlight this correlation, as explained in World Mathilde Touvier, director of the research team in nutritional epidemiology at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), who led the study:

" We followed a little over 100,000 adults who regularly recorded their food intake (…) between 2009 and 2019, and we looked at the relationship between sugary drinks and cancer risks. It was observed that people who consumed more sugary drinks had an overall increase in cancer risk, and more specifically breast cancer. "

Thus, once other risk factors such as tobacco or alcohol consumption, or external influences such as physical activity or level of education, have been eliminated, the consumption of sugary drinks is well correlated with the appearance of of cancers. same " a small glass ", 10 centilitres of syrup, soda or juice per day, one third of a standard can, increases the risk of cancer in general by 18%, and 22% the risk of breast cancer (especially after menopause ).

Sugar, "main mechanism"

This cohort study has the merit of properly assessing exposure to different risk factors, says Guy Launoy, epidemiologist and director of Inserm's cancer research unit, which recalls that "The nature of cancer is evolving (…) and those who appear are more and more associated with obesity ", whereas, on the contrary, the prevention of alcoholism for example reduces digestive cancers. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, overweight and obesity accounted for 3.6% of new cancer cases worldwide in 2012.

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