It only takes one: Drinking at least one sugary drink a day increases your cancer risk
09/23/2020 // Michael Alexander // Views

When it comes to beverages that increase your risk of cancer, it turns out that a glass of orange juice may be just as bad as a glass of soda.

This is according to a new study, which found that sugary drinks – including 100 percent fruit juice – were "significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer."

The study, conducted by researchers from Sorbonne Paris Cite University and published in the journal BMJ, involved 101,257 adults who were followed over a five-year period, during which the researchers monitored their intake, not just of food, but also of sugary and artificially sweetened beverages, such as carbonated soft drinks, powdered juice mixes and fruit juice.

The researchers monitored the participants by requiring each person to complete at least two 24-hour dietary questionnaires every six months throughout their research.

During the study, cancer was diagnosed in 2,193 of the participants, or roughly 22 cases per 1,000 people. Based on the data presented in the study, the majority of those cases were people who regularly consumed sugary drinks.

The researchers found that consuming 100 mL of fruit juice was linked to a 12 percent increased risk of cancer overall. Consuming the same amount of soda and sugar-sweetened drinks, meanwhile, was linked to a 19 percent increase in cancer risk. (Related: Portion control: Eat your fruit, don’t drink it; study finds consumption of fruit juice contributes to weight gain.)

According to the researchers, the drinks’ sugar content may be to blame, with lead researcher Mathilde Touvier noting that the sugar content for fruit juice is the same as the sugar content in carbonated soft drinks.


However, Touvier, who works for the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or the French National Institute of Health, said the results of their study do not mean that people should cut off fruit juice and similar beverages from their diets, but rather, balance their intake.

According to Touvier, what consumers should do is abide by the recommendations set forth by several public health agencies, which is to limit one's intake of sugary beverages to less than one drink per day.

"If you consume from time to time a sugary drink it won’t be a problem, but if you drink at least one glass a day it can raise the risk of several diseases – here, maybe cancer, but also with a high level of evidence, cardiometabolic diseases," she said.

The researchers also noted that further investigations were needed to solidify the significance of their findings, especially considering its observational nature.

The results of the research came days after several health experts lobbed criticism on the marketing of fruit juice as a "healthy" product despite being packed with sugar.

According to Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor at Flinders University in Australia, the majority of the public is still being conned into thinking that "natural" juices are automatically healthier. In fact, these drinks contain the same – or even higher – amount of sugar as soft drinks.

To learn about other unhealthy sugary drinks that you should avoid, visit

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