By Sara Bondell
The pop and the fizz. A bubbly gulp. The sweet taste. What’s not to love about soda?
Well, you may want to think twice before pouring yourself another glass. The sweet drink has been linked to cancer.
A study from Cancer Council Victoria and the University of Melbourne in Australia found that people who drink sugary soft drinks have an increased risk of developing several obesity-related cancers, regardless of your waist size.
The study found a strong correlation between the consumption of sugary soft drinks and development of 11 types of cancer, including kidney, colorectal, esophagus, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. The more soft drinks consumed, the higher your risk of cancer.
Surprisingly, this is not the case for those who drank diet soft drinks with artificial sweeteners. Could sugar be the key?
"Although it is true that these drinks have empty calories that can add up fast and lead to weight gain, it’s not surprising that cancer risk increased regardless of weight," said registered dietitian Diane Riccardi. "Sugary soft drinks have a high glycemic index, which can cause rapid hormone spikes such as insulin. It may be sugar’s relationship to higher insulin levels and excess insulin that influences the growth of cancer cells."
Riccardi recommends limiting your daily sugar intake to six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
Instead of soft drinks, try these healthier options:
- Naturally flavored waters or seltzer waters
- Unsweetened tea and coffee
- Natural 100% fruit juice without added sugar (no more than 4 ounces per day)
You should also avoid energy drinks, specialty coffee drinks, and processed foods like cake and cookies.
To further reduce your cancer risk and improve overall health, Riccardi recommends maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding tobacco.