The team also looked at diet drinks using zero-calorie artificial sweeteners instead of sugar but found no link with cancer. During the study, more than 2,200 cases of cancer were diagnosed, with 693 cases of breast cancer as well. This has been convincingly linked to obesity, which is recognised as a strong risk factor for many cancers.
"The study found the highest quarter for sugary drink consumption had a 30% higher risk for cancer, and a 37% higher risk for breast cancer..." The results of the study were published in the British Medical Journal. The study tracked more than 100,000 people over five years. "Surprisingly perhaps, the increased risk of cancer in heavier consumers of sugary drinks was observed even among consumers of pure fruit juice - this warrants more research".
Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose.
They added that their findings could support existing recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, as well as policy actions such as taxation and marketing restrictions that targeted sugary drinks. Water, unsweetened tea and coffee also showed no heightened risk.
A new study has linked drinking just a small glass of a sugary drink per day - 100 ml, about a third of a typical can of soda - to an 18% increase in overall cancer risk and a 22% increase in risk for breast cancer. No association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers, but numbers of cases were more limited for these cancer locations.
Over the follow-up period, 2,193 people developed cancer for the first time; they were 59 years old at the time of diagnosis, on average.
"However, this study assumes a real causal relationship between the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and cancer, which requires further research", said Graham Wheeler, senior statistician at Cancer Research UK, a UK cancer research institute.
The study took into consideration upward of 100,000 adults' health outcomes, in which their physicians regularly asked them how much sugary drinks they consumed on a daily basis throughout the entirety of the data collection process.
Sorbonne University (French: Sorbonne Université) is a public research university in Paris, France, established in 2018 by the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University, Pierre et Marie Curie University, along with smaller institutions. Obesity is a major factor in many cancers.
However, some ingredients, such as the popular additive 4-methylimidazole, could also contribute significantly to the formation of cancer in those who drink more soda and other sugary drinks than their healthier counterparts. These data suggest an association between sugary drinks and tumors.
"It's important for people to know that all beverages, either with sugar or without, are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet", she said. The researchers pointed out that some of the chemicals in the drink, such as those that make the drink attractive, may also be one of the cancer culprits.
However, their study does not attempt to answer this question.