- You could tick all the boxes for a healthy lifestyle but still be at risk of liver disease – just from two cans of fizzy drink a day, study says.
- Men and women (of all ages, weights and lifestyles) who drank sugary drinks daily showed signs of fat in their liver cells.
- People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
It’s not just alcohol that mucks with your liver – drinking as little as two cans of sugary soft drink a day could raise your risk of liver disease, according to a study released last week.
Over 2,000 participants in the Journal of Hepatology study reported their daily soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages consumption. The results showed having more than one sugar-sweetened drink a day led to a higher prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), compared to people who drank no sugar-sweetened drinks.
After the researchers had accounted for factors like age, sex, BMI, calorie intake, alcohol and smoking, the results still stood firm. What strikes us most about this study is that you could tick all the boxes for a healthy lifestyle, but if you drink more than two cans of soft drink a day, you may still be at risk for NAFLD.
A backgrounder on NAFLD… it’s the most common liver disorder in Western industrialised nations (i.e. us). With very few symptoms and links to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, by the time NAFLD is diagnosed it can be almost impossible to reverse. Left long enough, the liver can swell, leading to scarring and ultimately, liver failure. Scary!
Weird fact… The study also concluded that diet soft drinks are not associated with NAFLD… but we’re not taking that as a free pass to guzzle down Coke Zero. We’re not big on artificial sweeteners – our bodies can’t digest them properly, which is why many products warn of a laxative effect on the label. Er… we’ll stick to sparkling water, thanks.
Have you noticed any changes in your health since breaking a soft drink habit? Let us know in the comments below!