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Fruit juices and sugary drinks could be linked to cancer

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Drinking sugary beverages and fruit juices daily increases your risk of getting cancer, according to a new research from France.

Even a small amount of 100% fruit juice is harmful. If you’re having 100ml (one-third of a glass or soda can) of any sugary drink such as soft drinks, sweetened tea, coffee or even fresh fruit juice, you are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The sugar in these drinks and juices increases the risk of obesity, which leads to cancer, claimed food expert Faiza Khan on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Friday.

The study tracked the dietary intake of over 100,000 adults for eight years in France through internet-based questionnaires. The questions were related to their dietary intake over 24 hours and lifestyle patterns such as physical activity and smoking. The study was based on the results by NutriNet-Santé, a web-based study, and published in the BMJ.

Khan said that the study showed that around 2,000 people from the group of participants had an incidence of cancer. This showed that regular consumption of sugary drinks significantly increased the incidence of overall cancer.

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“Our dietary guidelines already tell us to avoid artificially sweetened beverages,” said Khan. “Fruit juices should also be consumed in moderation. When you’re eating a fruit, you’ll have one serving, which is recommended. But when it comes to making fruit juice, you’re using more than one serving of fruit for just one glass of juice.”

Khan said that one serving would be equal to one-third of a glass. To fill up the glass you can add water or milk. However, she cautioned against adding cream or added sugar to fruit shakes. She said that most people considered packaged fruit juices a healthy option.

“We get a lot of patients, both young and old, who think if they’re having any fruit juice packet when they’re sick it’s healthy. Lots of people replace water with packaged juice. But this isn’t healthy at all.”

She added that any food with a high glycaemic index increases the amount of sugar in a person’s blood, which wasn’t safe. Increased sugar makes body cells resistant to insulin. This can then lead to diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Khan said that the research hadn’t found a strong correlation between artificially sweetened drinks and cancer. However, she said that artificial sweeteners can change your gut’s microbes which can also lead to weight gain and obesity.

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