Sugar Isn’t Giving Us All Cancer

Why you shouldn’t worry about the occasional glass of orange juice

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
5 min readJul 18, 2019


Pictured: Eeeeevil. Source: Pexels

We all know sugar is bad for us. Diet books have been screaming for decades that the single worst thing that you can put in your body is a droplet of that sweet, sweet goodness. Celebrity diets may differ in many ways, but they all tell us to avoid that sweet, sticky powder.

Pictured: Like cocaine, but worse somehow Source: Pexels

Which makes the recent media furore about sugar all that much more believable. Headlines around the globe have been screaming for the last week that sugar is giving us all cancer. Apparently, a small glass of fruit juice is enough to push you over the edge into the scariest of C-words.

It must be true because of SCIENCE!

The good news is that you probably don’t have to worry too much about sugar giving you cancer. The bad news is that too many sugary drinks are still not great for your health.

Superb Science

The study that has everyone fearing for their lives was a large epidemiological trial using a cohort of people in France. Basically, the researchers took a large group of people — over 100,000 — asked them a bunch of questions about their lives, and then monitored them for a decade. They then split them into groups based on how much sugar they drank — either from juice or sugar-sweetened beverages like Coke/Pepsi — and looked at how many people in each group got cancer.

Pictured: Cancer? Source: Pexels

After controlling for a number of potential confounding variables — things that can cause both increased sugar consumption and cancer — the researchers found that people who drank more sugary beverages were at a ~20% higher risk of cancer. They also found that drinking just 100ml a day — one bottle of Coke a week, roughly — could increase your risk of cancer!

It’s enough to put me off my Pepsi.

They also found that this wasn’t limited to the usual suspects: even fruit juice…