Study finds possible link between sugary drinks and cancer

In this photo taken on July 27, 2018, women push a cart laden with North Korean soda drinks across a road in Pyongyang. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019
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Study finds possible link between sugary drinks and cancer

  • The results showed that a 100 milliliter (ml) a day increase in consumption of sugary drinks was linked to an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer

LONDON: People who drink a lot of sugary drinks have a higher risk of developing cancer, although the evidence cannot establish a direct causal link, researchers said on Thursday.
The findings of a large study in France do suggest, however, that limiting intake of sugar-sweetened drinks may help to cut the number of cancer cases in a population, the scientists said.
Consumption of sugary drinks has risen worldwide in the last few decades and is linked to obesity, which itself increases cancer risk. The World Health Organization recommends that people should limit their daily intake of sugar to less than 10% of their total energy intake, but also says a further reduction to below 5%, or about 25 grams a day, would be healthier.
Many countries, including Britain, Belgium, France, Hungary and Mexico, have introduced, or are about to introduce, taxes on sugar with the aim of improving people’s health.
Published in the BMJ British medical journal, this study analyzed data from 101,257 French adults — 21% of them men and 79% women — and assessed their intake or sugary drinks. It followed them for a maximum of 9 years, between 2009 and 2018, to assess their risk for all types of cancer, and for some specific types including breast, colon and prostate cancer.
The researchers also adjusted for several confounding cancer risk factors, including age, sex, educational level, family history, smoking and physical activity levels.

INCREASED RISK
The results showed that a 100 milliliter (ml) a day increase in consumption of sugary drinks was linked to an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.
When the sugary drinkers were divided into those who drank fruit juices and those who drank other sweet drinks, both groups were also linked with a higher risk of overall cancer.
For prostate and colorectal cancers, no link was found, but the researchers said this might have been because the numbers of cases of these cancers in the study participants was limited.
Experts not directly involved in the work said it was a well-conducted and robust study, but noted that its results could not establish cause and effect.
“While this study doesn’t offer a definitive causative answer about sugar and cancer, it does add to the overall picture of the importance of the current drive to reduce our sugar intake,” said Amelia Lake, an expert in public health nutrition at Britain’s Teesside University.
“The message from the totality of evidence on excess sugar consumption and various health outcomes is clear – reducing the amount of sugar in our diet is extremely important.”


The cafe that is bringing a taste of Saudi Arabia to South Korea

Updated 12 July 2019
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The cafe that is bringing a taste of Saudi Arabia to South Korea

  • It is the first venue in South Korea to offer customers authentic food and drinks from the heart of the Saudi desert, Mandora says

JEDDAH: A Saudi restaurant in South Korea has proved so successful that its owner has been forced to find bigger premises.

Alaa Mandora moved to Seoul seven years ago. The 33-year-old from Saudi Arabia graduated from the city’s Sogang University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, and worked for an information technology company for a year before launching her cafe, All in a Cup, in 2016.

It is the first venue in South Korea to offer customers authentic food and drinks from the heart of the Saudi desert, according to Mandora.

“All in a Cup embodies the dining culture of Saudi Arabia, where people leisurely enjoy each other’s company around a cup of Arabic coffee, sweets and a meal in the same establishment and in no particular order, which is quite different from the Korean dining culture,” she said. “Our cafe style represents this culture, offering a variety of home-cooked dishes meticulously and lovingly prepared by the Saudi chef and owner. Most of the dishes we offer come from the west side of Saudi Arabia, Hijaz. A few of our popular dishes are Aish Abu Laham, Kabab Mero, Saleeq and Kabsa.”

Mandora had long dreamed of opening a restaurant, even before she traveled to South Korea to study on a scholarship.

“After obtaining my MBA, my dream only got bigger, and I started seeing business opportunities in what had become my second home at this point,” she said. “I had noticed just how little variety and few options Saudis working and studying here had when it came to halal dining options.

BACKGROUND

All in a Cup opened in 2016 as a small coffee shop, with a menu that grew from three dishes to a full weekly menu. Thanks to positive word-of-mouth within the Arab community, the number of customers increased to the point where it became difficult to accommodate them in a small space, so owner Alaa Mandora decided to move to a larger venue.

“I understood their concerns all too well and knew that I could do something about it to make their lives a little easier. I wanted to give them a little taste of something closer to home when homesickness hit, as it often does for expatriates.

“However, I didn’t just want to cater to Arab people, I also wanted to inspire greater curiosity for Arab and Saudi culture among Koreans, starting with something people can always agree on: great soul food.

“We’re proud that we created a place not only where Arab people could relax, socialize and have fun, but we also created a welcoming and open environment where Koreans could also relax and mingle with other cultures, all around something as simple as a cup of coffee.”

Many of the Koreans who had never tried Saudi cuisine, and thought the flavors would not appeal to them, were pleasantly surprised.

“We had a number of Korean customers who were so impressed they became regular customers and would make it their goal to try everything on the menu,” said Mandora. “What really touched us was how curious they were; every time they’d visit, they’d come armed with more questions about Saudi spices, the cooking methods and just Saudi culture in general.”

She added that interacting with Saudis in such a relaxed environment allowed Korean customers not only to build friendships, but also learn about Saudi culture from a local’s perspective.

“It helped foster more understanding about Arabic culture and Islam as well; for example, understanding why we shut off the cafe’s music during prayer times,” said Mandora. “Quite a few customers also showed interested in learning simple Arabic words such as shukran (thank you) or lazeez (tasty), and were quite happy to use them with me.”