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Annu Rev Nutr. 2018 Aug 21;38:17-39. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-082117-051805. Epub 2018 May 25.

Consumption of Sugars, Sugary Foods, and Sugary Beverages in Relation to Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies.

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Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA; email:
Rutgers School of Public Health, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA; email:
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903-2681, USA.
NYU Health Sciences Library, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA; email:
College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; email:
Department of Population Health, New York University Langone Health, New York, NY 10016, USA.


High sugar intake may increase cancer risk by promoting insulin-glucose dysregulation, oxidative stress, inflammation, and body adiposity, but epidemiologic evidence is unclear. Associations between dietary sugars and lifestyle-related cancer risk from longitudinal studies were evaluated. We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL and identified 37 prospective cohort studies (1990-2017) reporting multivariable adjusted risk estimates for dietary sugars in relation to cancer. Of 15 and 14 studies on total sugar and sucrose respectively, 11 reported a null association in relation to cancer. Of 14 studies on fructose, 8 reported null associations, and 2 reported protective and 4 reported detrimental associations. In two of five studies on added sugars, a 60-95% increased cancer risk was observed with higher intakes. In 8 of 15 studies on sugary foods and beverages, a 23-200% higher cancer risk was observed with higher sugary beverage consumption. In conclusion, most studies were indicative of a null association, but suggestive detrimental associations were reported for added sugars and sugary beverages.


cancer risk; prospective studies; sugars; sugary foods and beverages; systematic review

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