Sugary Drinks May Be Linked to Cancer Risk, Study Says

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If you drink a lot of sugary drinks, you may have a higher risk of getting cancer, says a new study.

While it didn’t find a direct causal link, the large French study does suggest that limiting sugary drinks could cut cancer cases, according a Reuters report.

The study has big implications for Latinos, who drink more sugary drinks than their peers.

“This study adds to the science suggesting that it’s a good idea to limit sweetened beverage consumption,” Colleen Doyle, a nutrition expert at the American Cancer Society, told Yahoo! News.

What Did the Study Find?

Researchers at the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité followed 100,000 adults for five years.

They examined consumption levels of sugary drinks, including soda and fruit juice. They analyzed this and risk for overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.

The study concluded that drinking an extra 100ml of sugary drinks a day (two cans a week) would increase cancer risk by 18%, according to BBC News.

sugary drink pricing little girl“Consumption of sugary drinks was positively associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer,” according to the researchers in the British Medical Journal. “100% fruit juices were also positively associated with the risk of overall cancer.”

The study also checked diet drinks with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. They found no link to cancer.

Researchers said the results should be replicated to find a direct causal link. It could be due to blood sugar levels or fat deposits. Other factors could be involved that warrant attention, according to the American Council on Health and Science.

Why Is This Important for Latinos?

Latinos already face disproportional risk for certain cancers.

They also consume more sugary drinks than their peers.

In fact, being Latino and drinking sugary beverages at least once in the past week were associated with 2.3 times the odds of severe obesity in kindergarten. This can contribute to obesity-related diseases, according to a Salud America! research review.

Also, Latino kids are heavily targeted by sugary drink marketing. The food industry even dresses up unhealthy options with ad visuals of nutrition and physical activity.

“Without change in advertising regulations, parents alone will struggle to raise children unaffected by food marketing,” writes Kate Bratskeir of Mic.

How Can We Reduce Sugary Drinks?

The French study suggests that cutting sugary drinks can cut cancer risk.

latina girl drinking from water fountainBut how?

Earlier in 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) endorsed five public health measures to reduce kids’ consumption of sugary drinks:

  • Soda taxes (excise taxes)
  • Decreased marketing of sugary drinks
  • Removing sugary drinks from kid’s menus
  • Credible nutrition labels on sugary drinks
  • Hospitals as models for sugary drink reduction

Excise taxes on sugary drinks have successfully reduced consumption in cities.

Berkeley, Calif., launched the nation’s first such tax in 2014. In Berkeley, Latino community groups stepped up to lead the charge.

With the tax in place, a 2017 study indicated that Berkeley residents are buying fewer sugary drinks and water sales are up 16%. According to a February 2019 report, the tax has spurred a 50% decline in sugary drink consumption.

“This positive impact is magnified by the fact that the revenue from the tax is being invested in health and wellness across the city,” said Nancy Brown of AHA in a statement.

San Francisco, Seattle, Albany and Oakland, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., also have passed taxes.

“Communities have started tackling this problem with creative solutions, showing that we can work together to make healthy options more available and less expensive to buy,” said pediatrician Dr. Natalie D. Muth, lead author of the AAP/AHA policy statement.

Salud America! also created an Action Pack to help school leaders push for Water Bottle Fountains in schools.

get a water bottle fountain for your school!

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