In a new study, researchers found a possible link between drinking sugary beverages and an increased risk of cancer.
The finding supports that reducing sugary drink consumption, together with taxation and marketing restrictions, may help reduce cancer risk.
The research was conducted by a team of scientists from France.
The consumption of sugary drinks has increased worldwide during the last few decades.
It is linked to the risk of obesity, which in turn is a strong risk factor for many cancers.
However, the link between sugary drinks and the risk of cancer is still unclear.
In the new study, the term examined the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages, and risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel cancers.
They analyzed data from 101,257 healthy French adults and tracked their health for about 9 years.
The researchers found that during follow-up, 2,193 people were diagnosed with cancer (693 breast cancers, 291 prostate cancers, and 166 colorectal cancers).
The average age at cancer diagnosis was 59 years.
A 100 mL increase in sugary drinks intake every day was linked to an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.
Moreover, when the group of sugary drinks was split into fruit juices and other sugary drinks, both beverage types were linked to a higher risk of overall cancer.
No link was found for prostate and colon cancers. But this might be because the cancer case numbers were small.
The team also found that drinking artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not linked to a risk of cancer.
The researchers explain that the sugar contained in sugary drinks may have an effect on visceral fat (stored around vital organs such as the liver and pancreas), blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers.
All of the factors are linked to increased cancer risk.
Other chemical compounds, such as additives in some sodas might also play a role.
The findings support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice.
They also support policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks.
These may help reduce cancer incidence.
The study is published in The BMJ.
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