Consumption of Sugars, Sugary Foods, and Sugary Beverages in Relation to Adiposity-Related Cancer Risk in the Framingham Offspring Cohort (1991-2013)

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Jun;11(6):347-358. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0218. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Background: Higher sugar consumption may increase cancer risk by promoting insulin-glucose dysregulation, oxidative stress, hormonal imbalances, and excess adiposity. This prospective study investigates the association between dietary sugars (fructose and sucrose) and sugary foods and beverages in relation to combined and site-specific (breast, prostate, colorectal) adiposity-associated cancers.Methods: The analytic sample consisted of 3,184 adults, aged 26-84 years, from the Framingham Offspring cohort. Diet data were first collected between 1991 and 1995 using a food frequency questionnaire. Intakes of fructose, sucrose, sugary foods, and sugary beverages (fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages) were derived. Participants were followed up until 2013 to ascertain cancer incidence; 565 doctor-diagnosed adiposity-related cancers, including 124 breast, 157 prostate, and 68 colorectal cancers occurred. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate associations. Tests for interaction with BMI and waist circumference were conducted.Results: No associations were observed between fructose, sucrose, sugary food consumption, and combined incidence of adiposity-related cancers or the examined site-specific cancers. While total consumption of sugary beverages was not associated with site-specific cancer risk, higher intakes of fruit juice were associated with 58% increased prostate cancer risk (HR: 1.58; 95% CI, 1.04-2.41) in multivariable-adjusted models. In exploratory stratified analyses, higher sugary beverage intakes increased overall adiposity-related cancer risk by 59% in participants with excessive central adiposity (HR: 1.59; 95% CI, 1.01-2.50; Ptrend = 0.057).Conclusions: In this cohort of American adults, higher sugary beverage consumption was associated with increased cancer risk among participants with central adiposity.Impact: These analyses suggest that avoiding sugary beverages represents a simple dietary modification that may be used as an effective cancer control strategy. Cancer Prev Res; 11(6); 347-58. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sugars / adverse effects*
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects*


  • Sugars
  • Sweetening Agents