Cancer: The drink that may raise your risk of cancer ‘by 70% or more’ – it’s not alcohol
Bowel cancer: Dr Hilary outlines the main symptoms
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A new cancer crisis is unfolding as a result of the pandemic, and experts are working relentlessly to tame it. It is clear there are multiple factors involved in the progression of the disease, but among the less obvious causes is fruit juices. According to some research, certain fruit juices could increase the risk of oesophageal cancer by as much as 70 percent.
The consumption of sweetened beverages is increasing worldwide, and artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juices are among some of the most popular kinds.
One thing both drinks have in common is their sweetening agents; sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
Fruit juices, naturally, contain higher amounts of natural antioxidants and micronutrients, but a major downside for health is their higher content of free sugar.
They also contain a substantially low level of fibre, compared to whole fruit, which confers some level of protection against the disease.
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The main dangers, however, lie in the free sugar content of the juice, as this directly contributes to excessive energy intake.
Eventually, if the drink is consumed chronically, long-term weight gain could result, which is an infamous precursor for cancer.
WebMD writes: “So far there’s not much proof that a low-sugar or low-carb diet lowers your chance of cancer.
“One exception is cancer of the oesophagus, the tube that runs from your heart to your stomach.
“A […] study suggests that sugar and sweetened drinks may raise the chances of this cancer by 70 percent or more.”
Despite their healthy image in the general population, fruit juices generally contain “high levels of simple sugar, and their glycemic indexes are higher than that of whole fruits,” writes the British Medical Journal.
Some fruit juices, however, have an inverse association with cancer however, meaning they may lower the risk.
For example, there is evidence that citrus fruit intake “substantially” reduces the risk of oesophageal cancer, according to research published in the journal Medicine (Baltimore).
Research published in the journal in 2015 showed that juice could lower the risk of cancer by 37 percent.
Other food groups associated with an increased risk of the disease are red meats, which release harmful chemicals into the bloodstream.
But the most important risk factor for the condition is acid reflux or heartburn, where acid travels up from the stomach to the throat.
Unless the condition is reversed, acid can start to gnaw at the oesophageal tissue, eventually increasing the risk of cancer.
Although oesophageal cancer is treatable when caught early, it can cause problems with swallowing and make it hard to eat well.
Two types of oesophageal cancer are recognised medically; adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
The latter of the two is the most common form of oesophageal cancer worldwide, affecting more than a million people in the US alone each year.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and being obese can all increase the risk of the disease.
It should be noted, however, that having one or many risk factors for oesophageal cancer does not mean you will get the disease.
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