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Press releases

10 July 2019

Soft drinks study published by BMJ gives no evidence of cause

A study published by The British Medical Journal reports a possible association between higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and an increased risk of cancer.

In response, British Soft Drinks Association director-general Gavin Partington said:

“This study reports a possible association between higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and an increased risk of cancer, but does not provide evidence of cause, as the authors readily admit.

“Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. The soft drinks industry recognises it has a role to play in helping to tackle obesity which is why we have led the way in calorie and sugar reduction.

“Soft drinks is the only category to have already hit Public Health England’s calorie-reduction target of 20% by 2020, and Kantar Worldpanel data shows overall sugar intake from soft drinks was down by 29% between May 2015 and May 2019.”

Speaking on behalf of the British Fruit Juice Association, registered dietitian Helen Bond:

"In contrast to the authors' theories about why 100% fruit juices may be linked with cancer risk, we see clearly from controlled intervention studies that daily consumption of 100% fruit juice lowers inflammation, improves antioxidant status, improves glucose control and does not promote body fat. All of these would reduce cancer risk, not promote it.

"In addition, 100% fruit juices are a major source of vitamin C and plant polyphenols, both of which are associated with a lower cancer risk. The World Cancer Research Fund found no evidence that 100% fruit juice is carcinogenic and maintain that a daily 150ml glass ‘can be part of a healthy, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle’ and contribute to the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable target”.