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Fruit juice linked to increased cancer risk, new study finds

A daily glass of fruit juice could increase the risk of cancer, new research has found.

Fruit juice. Source: istock.com

The French study published in the British Medical Journal yesterday involved 100,000 participants and scoped 97 sugary drinks, in addition to 12 artificially sweetened beverages. 

It found a higher consumption of sugary drinks - including 100 per cent fruit juice with no added sugars - increases the likelihood of developing all types of cancers.

While the consumption of sugary drinks is known to be on the rise and they are often associated with the risk of obesity, it is the first study of its kind to find the association between sugary drinks and the disease.

The authors found that a 100 millilitre increase in sugary drink consumption was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of overall cancer and a 22 per cent increased risk of breast cancer.

When the group of sugary drinks was split into 100 per cent fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer, the report said.

Dr Mathilde Touvier, from Inserm, the French national institute of health and medical research, led the study.

She said fruit juices showed the same association with cancer as soft drink.

“The main driver of the association seems to be sugar, so when we just look at the sugar content per 100 millilitres, regular Coke or 100 per cent orange juice, for instance, are quite the same. So it’s not so odd that we observe this association for fruit juices,” she told The Guardian.

“As usual with nutrition, the idea is not to avoid foods, just to balance the intake," she said.

“The recommendation from several public health agencies is to consume 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.”

The authors said the study is observational, meaning the group cannot state sugars cause cancer.

There was no link between artificial sweeteners and cancer, but the numbers using artificial sweeteners were too small to be conclusive.