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FRUIT JUICE & SUGARY DRINKS LINKED TO INCREASED CANCER RISK

Updated: Jan 23


Today’s newspaper headline – fruit juice and sugary drinks linked to increased cancer risk.


The new study, published in the BMJ, analysed data from 101,257 people who were aged 42 on average at the start of the study and were typically followed up for five years.


FINDINGS:

- People consuming just under 200ml on average of a sugar-sweetened drink or fruit juice each day had an 18 per cent increased risk of all types of cancer

- Among women, researchers found a 22 per cent increased risk of breast cancer

- No link between diet drinks containing sweetener and an increased risk of cancer


However, further large scale research studies are called for as these results show an ASSOCIATION and could not prove that sugary drinks definitely caused cancer.


FRUIT JUICE

PRO’S:

- Contains vitamins, minerals and protective plant compounds that are good for health

- 150ml of unsweetened 100% fruit (or vegetable) juice can contribute to your 5-a-day, but only once. Unlike whole fruits and vegetables, juice lacks the fibre necessary for multiple servings.

- Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron from plant sources (non-haem iron). Drinking citrus juices or other vitamin C-rich options, like cranberry juice, with high-iron meals can increase your body's iron absorption.


CONS:

- High in 'free sugars'. Juicing releases the natural sugars in the fruit, which is why fruit juice is classified as a source of free sugars. We are advised to cut back on the amount of free sugar in our diet. If you’re watching your weight, fruit juice is high in sugary calories (being overweight is definitely linked with a higher risk of at least 13 different cancers)

- Juicing removes much of the natural fibre in fruits, concentrating sugars and calories. This quick absorption can raise blood sugar levels and increase calorie intake. Even for people without diabetes, it's wise to watch sugar intake. Eating whole fruits with their fibre helps manage blood sugar levels, promotes fullness, and contributes to a balanced diet. Enjoying a variety of fruits in different forms supports overall health.

- Depending on your budget, freshly squeezed fruit juice can be very pricey.


ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS

PRO's:

- Little or no calories (if your goal is to reduce your total calorie intake)

- The majority will not cause a blood sugar spike

CONS:

- They can be VERY sweet and this may keep you craving more sweet tastes

- Some early studies in animals have indicated that some artificial sweeteners can have a detrimental effect on the 'good' bacteria in our gut

- Sugar alcohol sweeteners e.g. Xylitol, Mannitol and Sorbitol can cause digestive upset in some

- They usually don't have much nutritional value. They often lack essential nutrients.


MY THOUGHTS:

For a healthy and balanced diet, it's advisable to limit sugary drinks, including fruit juice. Opting for better choices supports overall well-being.


BETTER CHOICES:

- Infuse water with cucumber, mint, orange, lemon or orange

- Crush some fresh or frozen berries in the bottom of a glass and add still or sparkling water

- Make up a herbal tea like ‘very berry’ flavour, allow it to cool, and drink it cold

- If you are having fruit juice try diluting it with a bit of water to reduce the sugar load

- Drinking a small amount of fruit juice with a meal (rather than by itself) will slow sugar release and absorption, helping to keep blood sugar levels steady. Vegetable juice can be a better choice than fruit juice for a lower sugar option.



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