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Does sugar in fruit juices lead to cancer?
According to a large study that looked at the relationship between regular consumption of all types of sugary drinks and the likelihood of illness, drinking large amounts of fruit juice appears to increase the risk of cancer.
The latest research by the Sorbonne Paris Cité Epidemiology and Statistics Research Center found that sugar in fruit juices could increase the likelihood of developing cancer. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "BMJ".
Obesity increases the risk of developing cancer
The study, carried out in France, is the first major research project to identify a specific link between sugar and cancer. Various sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade and energy drinks have been associated with obesity in the past. Obesity is known to increase the risk of developing cancer.
100 percent fruit juice also appears to increase the risk of cancer
The results of the study show that the link between cancer and sugar is as strong in fruit juices as it is in cola. When the group of sugary drinks was divided into 100 percent fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both types of drink was associated with a higher risk of cancer, the authors report.
People should generally eat less sugar
Reducing the amount of sugary drinks that we all consume, as well as special taxes on sugar and other restrictions, could help reduce cancer, researchers say. Of course, this does not mean that people have to completely forego the consumption of sugary drinks. If you consume a sugary drink from time to time, this is not a problem. However, drinking at least one glass of such a drink a day can increase your risk of multiple diseases, including cancer. There is also high evidence for the development of cardiometabolic diseases.
Does fruit juice contain as much sugar as cola?
The current study showed the same association with cancer for consumption of fruit juices as for cola. The sugar it contains seems to be to blame. If we look at the sugar content of the drinks per 100 ml, for example, normal cola or 100 percent orange juice contain about the same amount, report the authors of the study. So it is not uncommon for there to be a link between the risk of cancer and fruit juices. Health officials say fruit juices are healthier because they contain some vitamins and fiber.
Where did the data used in the investigation come from?
The data used in the study was collected as part of a long-term nutrition survey in France called NutriNet-Santé, which involved 101,257 healthy French adults, 79 percent of whom were women. The participants were medically monitored for a maximum of nine years, during which time almost 2,200 cancer cases were diagnosed, including 693 cases of breast cancer. It was found that a 100 ml increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of cancer and a 22 percent higher risk of breast cancer.
More research is needed
Since it was only a so-called observational study, the researchers were unable to determine that sugar is a cause of cancer. The authors demand that this must be examined through further studies. The study found evidence of a link between the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of developing breast cancer, but the same link was not found for colorectal cancer or prostate cancer. Further research into the biological mechanism between the consumption of sugary drinks and certain types of cancer is now needed to determine whether there is a connection here as well.
Critical evaluation of the study
The Association of the German Fruit Juice Industry (VdF) assesses the statements of the current studies on the connection between fruit juice consumption and the cancer risk as “not justifiable / justified” and refers to numerous previous studies that came to different conclusions. The association also criticized clear methodological shortcomings in the current study. In view of the controversial statements, further investigations now seem to be urgently required to clearly rule out or confirm possible causal relationships. (as)
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Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Eloi Chazelas, Bernard Srour, Elisa Desmetz, Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, Chantal Julia et al .: Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort, in BMJ (query 11.07.2019), BMJ