High consumption of added concentrated sugars in food may increase the risk of prostate cancer among men receiving standard medical care, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.1

Added sugars have been associated with an increased risk for a variety of health conditions, including metabolic syndrome, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hyperuricemia, and inflammatory conditions. Previous evidence has linked increased sugar consumption to cancer development, but its impact on prostate cancer is unknown.

For the study, investigators sought to assess how the intake of sugar from beverages and desserts influenced prostate cancer risk among 22,720 men enrolled into the usual-care arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. Eligible patients completed the baseline and diet history questionnaire, which evaluated sugar intake from foods and drinks such as soft drinks, sodas, milkshakes, punch, fruit juices, fruit, cakes, cookies, pies, and other foods with concentrated sugars. Participants were asked to complete annual questionnaires to determine the incidence of prostate cancer; the median follow-up was 9 years.

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Overall, 1996 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. A Cox proportional hazards regression model demonstrated that sugar consumption from sugar-sweetened beverages increased the overall risk of prostate cancer by 21% among men in the highest quartile of sugar intake (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21; 95% CI, 1.06-1.39; P < .01).

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Increased sugar from fruit juices was associated with increased risk in the upper-second and third quartile, but diminished thereafter. Dessert foods did not have any associations with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

The authors concluded that their findings “highlight the potential significance of high consumption of added, concentrated sugars from beverages in prostate cancer etiology. Additional studies examining this association are warranted.”


  1. Miles FL, Neuhouser ML, Zhang ZF. Concentrated sugars and incidence of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort [published online July 26, 2018]. Br J Nutr. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114518001812