A glass of soda or juice is likely to increase the risk of cancer especially if it has added sugar in it, according to a study. The study focused on the link between sugary drinks and this chronic illness.

The research, published in a medical journal called BMJ on Wednesday, stated that a glass or 100 ml of sugary drink everyday can increase the risk of developing cancer by 18 percent. The study further stated that the impact will be even more for breast cancer. Those who include a small can of soda in their daily diet can increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 22 percent.

Lead researcher Mathilde Touvier, who is a research director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team of the National Health and Medical Research Institute at the Paris 13 University, said the study highlighted the importance of reducing sweetened beverages in daily diet.

“What we observed was that the main driver of the association seems to be really the sugar contained in these sugary drinks,” CNN quoted Touvier.

For the study, the research team observed over 100,000 healthy French adults, who were involved in an ongoing French NutriNet-Santé study. Among the 101,257 participants, 79 percent were women and 21 percent of them were men.

All the participants in the study aged above 40 and they were observed for a period of nine years. The researchers used questionnaire method for the study. They asked the participants to fill in two questionnaires in which they were asked to select their usual intake of foods and drinks from the 3,300 items mentioned in the questionnaire.

The scientists then calculated the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages and other sugary drinks, including 100 percent fruit juices and diet beverages or artificially sweetened drinks, consumed by each of the participants.

On an average, the consumption of sugary drinks was more in men when compared to women. While men consumed 90.3 ml of sugary drinks on a daily basis, women consumed only 74.6 ml of this beverage.

When the first case of cancer was reported by the participants, the researchers tried to validate the link between sugary drinks and this chronic illness with the help of medical records. They found that sugar is the main culprit in all the drinks. “High sugary drinks consumption is a risk factor for obesity and weight gain. Obesity is in itself a risk factor for cancer,” Touvier explained.

The scientist also said a total of 2,193 people were diagnosed with cancer during the follow-up period. Among them, 693 were breast cancer cases and 291 participants had prostate cancer and 166 participants developed colorectal cancer.

The researcher also said that some type of additives, like 4-methylimidazole, can also increase the risk of cancer. The 4-methylimidazole is mainly used in drinks with caramel coloring.

While analyzing the data, the researchers took into consideration all the other factors linked to cancer, including, age, sex, family history of cancer, educational level, physical activity and smoking status.

However, the research team stated that the study has its own limitations as it is observational.