Sugary drinks up non-alcoholic fatty liver disease risk

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New York, June 7 (IANS) Drinking sugar-sweetened beverage daily may increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), says a study.

NAFLD is characterised by an accumulation of fat in the liver cells that is unrelated to alcohol consumption.

“Our study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to NAFLD and other chronic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said first author Jiantao Ma from Tufts University in the US.

The study examined 2,634 middle-aged men and women. The sugar-sweetened beverages included caffeinated- and caffeine-free colas, other carbonated beverages with sugar, fruit punches, lemonade or other non-carbonated fruit drinks.

They saw a higher prevalence of NAFLD among people who reported drinking more than one sugar-sweetened beverage per day compared to people who said they drank no sugar-sweetened beverages.

The relationships between sugar-sweetened beverages and NAFLD persisted after the authors accounted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and dietary and lifestyle factors such as calorie intake, alcohol, and smoking.

In contrast, after accounting for these factors the authors found no association between diet cola and NAFLD.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major dietary source of fructose, the sugar that is suspected of increasing risk of NAFLD because of how our bodies process it.

The study was published in the Journal of Hepatology.

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