Love to drink that sweetened soda, or other sugar-laden fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks? Beware, as you can be at an increased risk of developing various cancers, a study has found.
"Recently growing evidence suggests a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and the risk of pancreatic and endometrial cancer, as well as the risk of colon cancer recurrence and death among cancer survivors," said Melinda Sothern, Professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences in New Orleans, US.
Additionally, such individuals may also be at risk of developing health issues like obesity, diabetes and cardio-metabolic diseases.
As more people are surviving cancer, the consumption of added sugar will be an increasingly important risk factor.
The American Heart Association recommends a consumption goal of no more than 450 kilocalories (kcal) of sugar-sweetened beverages or fewer than three 12-ounce cans of soda per week, the researchers said.
"Although consuming added sugar is not recommended, people are not usually aware of how much sugar they get from sugar-sweetened beverages," said lead author Tung-Sung Tseng, Associate Professor of Public Health at LSU Health New Orleans.
The results of the study indicate that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption behaviour varies across cancers and may be related to age.
Intervention programs to reduce consumption of added sugar be focused on lower socio-economic status, young males, as well as cervical cancer survivors, the researchers suggested.
They also recommend that custom intervention to decrease added sugar consumption be conducted for both non-cancer individuals and cancer survivors in communities and the medical care system.
For the study, the team examined data from 22,182 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2012 data.
The survey measured the consumption of sodas, fruit-flavoured drinks, sweetened fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas and coffees and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
It also ascertained cancer, smoking and obesity status, as well as demographic characteristics including age, gender, race, educational level and poverty/income ratio.
For the overall study population, 15.7 per cent had high sugar intake from sugar-sweetened drinks. People with no cancer history had a higher sugar intake than cancer survivors, although this could be due to other factors including older age and gender.
The sugar intake from sugar-sweetened beverages among women with cervical cancer history was much higher (60g/day) compared to other cancer survivors who consumed only around 30-40 g/day.
The research team also found that individuals who had high sugar intake (80g/day sugar) from sugar-sweetened beverages were younger, male, black, obese, current smokers, low-income, or had education levels at or below high school.
The study is published in the journal of Translational Cancer Research.