Researchers in France found that downing a small glass of 100 percent fruit juice or soda - about 3.3 ounces worth - a day was linked to an 18 percent increased risk of cancer and a 22 percent increase in breast cancer.
It found a higher consumption of sugary drinks - including 100 per cent fruit juice with no added sugars - increases the likelihood of developing all types of cancers. This follows a recent study linking sugary beverage consumption to greater risk of premature death.
The French study found no increased cancer risk from sugar-free drinks, although so few of the people studied consumed them that the results may not be significant, the researchers said.
But they said their findings showed an association and could not prove that sugary drinks definitely caused cancer.
Touvier said her team observed that sugar seemed to be the main driver of the link. According to Touvier's team, high-calorie drinks may raise cancer risk because sugar helps build body fat, in addition to raising blood sugar levels and inflammation - all of which are risk factors for cancer. 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.
"All beverages - either with sugar or without - are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet", the American Beverage Association said in a statement.
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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.
Among women with the highest intake, the risk of breast cancer increased by 37%.
"For too long the nutri-myth of sweeteners being a health risk has remained in popular culture", she told the Science Media Centre in the UK.
The participants were engaged in the study for up to nine years and they were required to answer two 24-hour certified dietary questionnaires online.
Those taking part had completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, created to measure their usual intake of 3,300 food and beverage items, and were followed up for a maximum of nine years.
Daily consumption of sugary drinks - sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices - and artificially sweetened or diet beverages were calculated and first cases of cancer reported by participants were validated by medical records and linked with health insurance national databases.