7 drinks that may affect your cancer risk


You are what you eat, but you’re also what you drink!
Did you know that our bodies are more than 50 percent water? Keeping our bodies properly hydrated is one way to stay healthy. But water isn’t the only drink in our diets. Beverages we drink daily can cause serious health implications, including increasing our risk for cancer.

Let’s take a look at seven popular drinks and examine whether they affect our risk for cancer.

1. Alcohol

Research has proven a consistent causal relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer, specifically in the head and neck, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast tissue. Scientific evidence suggests ethanol as the primary cause of cancer in alcoholic beverages and advises against frequent consumption or heavy drinking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a maximum of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Although many people believe that daily consumption of red wine (which contains the plant antioxidant resveratrol) prevents cancer, no clinical evidence suggests this to be true. Limit alcohol consumption to lower your risk for cancer.

2. Coffee

Recent research indicates several likely health benefits of consuming black coffee (without cream, sugar, and other flavorings). Researchers have found that former colon cancer patients who drank coffee regularly had lower chances of having cancer recur, and the American Institute for Cancer Research notes that coffee drinkers are likely at lower risk of endometrial cancer and liver cancer.

Because of coffee’s antioxidant properties, some studies have found that drinking it regularly may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.

3. Green tea

Green tea contains key plant chemicals known as catechins, a type of antioxidant. Catechins have been shown in lab studies to slow down or prevent the growth of cancer cells and stop tumors from spreading in body systems. Other enzymes activated in the body by green tea protect against tumor development. Although green tea is often proven in lab studies to prevent causes of cancer, research advises against relying on green tea as a treatment for preexisting cancer.

4. Energy Drinks

Although there is no scientific link between energy drinks and cancer, doctors advise against consuming too much caffeine and sugar, both of which are main ingredients in energy drinks. Research finds that adults should have only one serving per day. Due to recent evidence linking daily energy drink intake to heart abnormalities and seizures, regular consumption of energy drinks is not recommended.

5. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks don’t necessarily cause cancer, though researchers warn against overconsumption of sports drinks because they contain excess sugar and carbohydrates. Without regular exercise to offset consumption, extra calories often lead to obesity and other health problems.

6. Soda

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found that 4-MeI, the caramel dye in darker-colored sodas, is proven to cause or elevate the risk of cancer. While soda manufacturers consider the chemical a byproduct of soda production, the state of California lists 4-MeI as a known carcinogen and actively enforces carcinogen labeling on food products known to contain the colorant.

7. Bottled Water

Bisphenol-A or BPA has long been a source of concern for consumers of bottled drinks. Recent research suggests that BPA may function as a hormone disruptor, which in turn can possibly cause cancer. Studies have shown that BPA exposure on lab animals harms fertility and reproductive organs even at low doses, increasing the risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and metabolic disorders.

The National Cancer Institute supports significant research into how we can prevent cancer through lifestyle choices. By examining our daily eating and drinking habits, we can identify small ways to make a big difference for our health in the long run.

Proper hydration and nutrition are key to our health, as is understanding what we put in our bodies. The next time you pour your first cup of morning brew or head to happy hour, keep in mind the impacts of the choices you make.

Have you recently given up or cut back on energy drinks, alcohol, or other unhealthy beverages? Share how you Call Out Cancer and live a healthier lifestyle.