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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Consumption of sweet foods and mammographic breast density: a cross-sectional study

Caroline S Duchaine12, Isabelle Dumas2 and Caroline Diorio123*

Author Affiliations

1 Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Centre de recherche sur le cancer, Université Laval, 2325, rue de l’Université, G1V 0A6 Quebec City, QC, Canada

2 Axe Oncologie, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement, 1050, chemin Ste-Foy, G1S 4L8 Quebec City, QC, Canada

3 Centre des maladies du sein Deschênes-Fabia, Hôpital St-Sacrement du CHU de Québec, 1050, chemin Ste-Foy, G1S 4L8 Quebec, QC, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:554  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-554

Published: 26 June 2014



The increasing consumption of sugar worldwide seems to lead to several health problems, including some types of cancer. While some studies reported a positive association between sweet foods intake and breast cancer risk, little is known about their relation to mammographic density (MD), a strong breast cancer risk factor. This study examined the association of sweet foods and drinks intake with MD among 776 premenopausal and 779 postmenopausal women recruited at mammography.


A food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess intake of sweet foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and spoonsful of sugar added. Percent and absolute breast density were estimated using a computer-assisted method. Multivariate generalized linear models were used to evaluate associations. All models were adjusted for potential confounders, including age and body mass index.


For increasing quartiles of sugar-sweetened beverages intake, adjusted-mean absolute density was respectively 32, 34, 32 and 36 cm2 among all women (Ptrend = 0.040) and 43, 46, 44 and 51 cm2 among premenopausal women (Ptrend = 0.007). For increasing quartiles of sweet foods intake, adjusted-mean percent density was respectively 16, 16, 17 and 19% among postmenopausal women (Ptrend = 0.036). No association was shown between intake of spoonsful of sugar added and MD.


Our results suggest that an increase in sweet foods or sugar-sweetened beverage intake is associated with higher MD.

Epidemiological; Breast density; Sugar intake; Breast cancer; Diet