Drinking just one fizzy drink a day could increase a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer by around 40 per cent, research suggests.
Men who consumed 300ml of a sugary soft drink a day appeared to raise their odds of succumbing to faster growing forms of the disease, according to a 15-year study.
The sugar in the drinks is believed to release insulin, which feeds tumours.
The study, carried out by Swedish scientists and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracked the health of more than 8,000 men aged 45 to 73 for an average of 15 years.
All were in good health when the study began, and were asked about what they liked to eat and drink.
Those who drank more sugary drinks were more likely to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer by the end of the study.
Isabel Drake, a researcher at Lund University, said: “Among the men who drank a lot of soft drinks, we saw an increased risk of prostate cancer of around 40 per cent.”
Large amounts of rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals were also linked with a less serious form of the disease.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and about 36,000 are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year. It accounts for a quarter of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in men but most cases develop in those aged 70 or older.
The scientists who carried out the study said that while genetics were more important in determining the likelihood of developing prostate cancer than was the case with many other cancers, diet did seem to be important.
More research was needed to confirm the link with fizzy drinks but there were already “plenty of reasons” to cut back on them, they said.
But Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, told the Daily Mail: “We cannot be certain whether any particular dietary pattern has a significant impact on a man's risk of getting prostate cancer but it is highly unlikely that any single food source will lead to an increased chance of developing the disease.”
Fizzy drinks have previously been linked to a range of ills, including aggression in teenagers, the risk of dying of a stroke, long-term liver damage and premature ageing.
Rosa Silverman Telegraph.co.uk