If you have plans to scoop up a free Slurpee later today, maybe don’t? Slurping is less fun right now, after a new study reported that drinking a glass as small as 3.38 ounces of a sugary drink a day can increase your overall risk of cancer by 18% and increase breast cancer risk by 22%. This isn’t surprising, per se, but it is very f*cking concerning. A small free Slurpee from 7-Eleven is about 8 ounces, and a typical small soda from a fast food joint is about 16 ounces, so if you’re knocking one of these back a day...
The study, published in the medical journal The BMJ on July 10th, studied 100,000 French adults and found direct links to the consumption of sugary drinks and an increased risk for all kinds of cancer. All kinds! It seems that the main culprit is sugar itself, and not artificial additives or added sugar, as the increased cancer risk was observed in consumers of pure fruit juice as well.
“What we observed was that the main driver of the association seems to be really the sugar contained in these sugary drinks… High sugary drink consumption is a risk factor for obesity and weight gain… obesity is in itself a risk factor for cancer.” Said Mathilde Touvier, the Research Director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team of the National Health and Medical Research Institute at the Paris 13 University to CNN.
Meaning that no sugary drink is exempt from increasing your overall risk of cancer by 18%. Life sucks. It doesn’t matter if you’re squeezing fresh fruit, which totally takes all meaning away from the saying “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” More like, when life gives you lemons, stretch them out sensibly over an entire month, and never consume too many lemons in one day, unless you want cancer.
The report sent the American Beverage Association in immediate damage control, calming any panic by releasing a statement from spokeswoman Daniell Smotkin:
“It’s important for people to know that all beverages — either with sugar or without are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet… That said, America’s leading beverage companies are working together to support consumer’s efforts to reduce the sugar they consume from our beverages by providing more choices with less sugar or zero sugar, smaller package sizes and clear calorie information right up front.”
Touvier suggested it was best to limit sugary drinks to a maximum of one glass a day if they can’t be avoided. Honestly, as alarming as this study is when you break down the cancer risk into numbers, many of us already know how harmful making sugar a prominent fixture of your diet is.
According to the CDC between 2015-2017, 39.8% of the adult population (roughly 93.3 million) of US adults were medically-classified as obese. And since obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and premature death, laying off the juice is probably a good call.