News: Is cancer link with drinking sugary drinks and fruit juice real?

News: Is cancer link with drinking sugary drinks and fruit juice real?

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

Fizzy drinks and fruit juice have been linked with a higher risk of cancer, a new study suggests.

We’ve always known drinking sugary beverages is not particularly good for you – but could the health impact be actually worse than imagined.

However, others warn that the research does not offer “definite proof”.

The Claim

Just one glass of fruit juice, fizzy drinks or sugary tea could dramatically increase the risk of cancer, the Daily Mail reports.

A major study, examining more than 100,000 people in France, found that a 100ml serving of fizzy drink increases the odds of developing cancer by 19 per cent.

Experts also warned that people are being “conned” into thinking that fruit juice is healthy – even though it is packed with sugar.

Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor from Flinders University in Australia, told the Mail: “The population continues to be conned into thinking that “natural” automatically equates to “healthier” which is simply not the case. 

“High sugar natural fruit drinks, which are flourishing worldwide and being marketed as a “healthier” option’ by juice and smoothie companies, can be just as bad if not worse than the carbonated drinks they are attempting to replace, as in many cases they can have an even higher total sugar content.”

A 100ml serving every day – whether freshly squeezed or bottled – reportedly increases the risk by 12 per cent.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said their findings support the existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, as well as taxation and marketing restrictions on sugary drinks.

Experts from the Sorbonne in Paris and the French Public Health Agency add that these measures “might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence”.

The Counterclaim

However, according to the BBC, the research is “far from definitive proof” and experts say that more research is required.

They report: “The way the study was designed means it can spot patterns in the data but cannot explain them.”

While it showed that people who drank more sugary drinks had more cancer cases, blaming the drinks is just one possible explanation.

They explain: “But, alternatively, people who drank the most sugary drinks could have other unhealthy behaviours (eating more salt and calories than the rest, for example) that raise their cancer risk and the sugary drinks themselves could be irrelevant.”

Dr Amelia Lake, from Teeside University, told the BBC that reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is “extremely important”.

She said: “While this study doesn’t offer a definitive causative answer about sugar and cancer, it does add to the overall picture of the importance of the current drive to reduce our sugar intake.”

The Facts

The safe daily limit of sugar is 19g (five teaspoons) for four to six-year-olds, 24g (six teaspoons) for seven to 10-year-olds, and 30g (7.5 teaspoons) for over-11s.

However, figures from Public Health England show that sugar intake is nearly three times the recommended limits for people of all ages.

For teenagers, soft drinks are the biggest source of sugar in their diet – providing a third of the sugar intake for 11 to 18-year-olds, among the highest level in Europe.

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Previous figures from Cancer Research UK suggest that teenagers drink just over 234 cans of soft drink a year – the equivalent of one bathtub full.

Public Health England also found that 10-year-olds in the UK have already consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar. By the time they reach their tenth birthday, children are consuming around eight excess sugar cubes each day – around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.

Sugar makes up to 13.5 per cent of four to 10-year-olds and 14.1 per cent of teenagers’ daily calorie intake. The official recommendation is to limit sugar to no more than five per cent.



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