Cancer: Three drinks that could increase your risk of the deadly disease

Loose Women’s Brenda Edwards recalls her cancer diagnosis

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Cancer is the eventual outcome of the uncontrolled proliferation of cells that spread to different parts of the body. The malignancy is believed to affect one in every two people born in the UK after 1960, over the course of their lifetime. Protecting oneself against the disease involves abiding by a set of dietary rules which may include avoiding or reducing any of these three drinks.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer was investigated.

Sugary drinks were defined as beverages that contained more than five percent sugar, which included fruit juices that had no added sugar.

The study aimed to assess the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks including sugar sweetened beverages and 100 percent fruit juices, artificial sweetened beverages and the risk of cancer.

The study found that the consumption of sugary drinks was significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer.

“In this large prospective study, the consumption of sugary drinks was positively associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer,” noted the study.

“100 percent fruit juices were also positively associated with the risk of overall cancer.

“These results suggest that sugary drinks, which are widely consumed in Western countries, might represent a modifiable risk factor for cancer prevention.”

Another study by Cancer Council Victoria and the University of Melbourne analysed more than 35,000 people over a 12-year period who developed 3,283 cases of obesity-related cancers including liver, ovary, pancreas and gallbladder.

“We were surprised to find increased cancer risk was not driven completely by obesity,” said Associate Professor Allison Hodge of Cancer Council’s cancer epidemiology and intelligence division.

“Even though these cancers were commonly associated with obesity, our research found this risk existed for all participants, no matter their size.

“Even people who were not overweight had an increased risk if they regularly drank soft drinks. This was not the case with those who drank diet soft drinks, suggesting sugar is the key contributor.”

A number of 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.

A spokesperson for the American Beverage Association (ABA) told CNBC via email that leading drinks companies were working together to help consumers reduce their sugar consumption.

“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.

Other foods increasing your cancer risk include:

  • Processed meat
  • Overcooked foods
  • Fried foods 
  • Alcohol
  • Food additives
  • Pesticides.

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