SUGARY soft drinks are leaving a bad taste in the locals’ mouths after a recent report showed the beverages can increase the risk of cancer.
Regardless of how much you weigh.
The new Cancer Council and University of Melbourne study showed the risk of a person suffering from 11 cancers spiked 18 per cent if they drank one or more fizzy drinks a day.
And this increased cancer risk was present whether the drinker was overweight or not.
Echuca Moama Family Medical Practice dietitian Amy Burrowes said these results were alarming.
“It’s a surprising lot of research as in the past cancers were associated with obesity,” she said.
“As this is the first research of its kind there needs to be more in the area to determine if sugar is the driver for some cancers.”
This research could add a raft of new reasons for people to avoid the sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Soft drinks are low in nutrition and contain plenty of extra kilojoules,” Ms Burrowes said.
“These are called ‘extra foods’. In other words, they are not needed in your diet and should be reserved only for special occasions.
“The added sugar found in these drinks causes toxic fat to build around our vital organs and can lead to cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
“The rates of all these conditions are increasing as people turn away from real food to more processed items of convenience.”
According to the new report, the caramel colouring (4-methylimidazole) used in cola drinks and artificial sweeteners did not seem to affect the cancer risk.
But those who drank diet soft drinks were just as likely to be obese as those who regularly drank sugary soft drinks.
“It’s important to consider that when we provide our body with something that tastes sweet, it’s not allowing our brain and body to adjust to live without added sugar,” Ms Burrowes said.
“Therefore it fuels our desire for sugary foods. They should be used in small amounts for this reason.”
Australia is currently sitting in the top 10 countries per capita for soft drink consumption.
Young Australians present the greatest concern, with the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey discovering 47 per cent of children aged two to 16 consumed sugar sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) every day.
“The highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages are male adolescents 14 to 18 years of age, and males are higher consumers than females across all age groups,” Echuca Regional Health’s health promotion officer Danielle Paterson said.
“The prevalence of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is also higher among lower socio-economic groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“As this study shows a correlation between cancer risk and soft drink consumption regardless of body size, more research in this area is required to determine what other factors or dangers sugar sweetened beverages could cause such risk.
“It’s scary, really.”