Soft drink consumption is associated with fatty liver disease independent of metabolic syndrome

Published:August 21, 2009DOI:


      The independent role of soft drink consumption in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients remains unclear. We aimed to assess the association between consumption of soft drinks and fatty liver in patients with or without metabolic syndrome.


      We recruited 31 patients (age: 43 ± 12 years) with NAFLD and risk factors for metabolic syndrome, 29 patients with NAFLD and without risk factors for metabolic syndrome, and 30 gender- and age-matched individuals without NAFLD. The degree of fatty infiltration was measured by ultrasound. Data on physical activity and intake of food and soft drinks were collected during two 7-day periods over 6 months using a food questionnaire. Insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidant–antioxidant markers were measured.


      We found that 80% of patients with NAFLD had excessive intake of soft drink beverages (>500 cm3/day) compared to 17% of healthy controls (p< 0.001). The NAFLD group consumed five times more carbohydrates from soft drinks compared to healthy controls (40% vs. 8%, p< 0.001). Seven percent of patients consumed one soft drink per day, 55% consumed two or three soft drinks per day, and 38% consumed more than four soft drinks per day for most days and for the 6-month period. The most common soft drinks were Coca-Cola (regular: 32%; diet: 21%) followed by fruit juices (47%). Patients with NAFLD with metabolic syndrome had similar malonyldialdehyde, paraoxonase, and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels but higher homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) and higher ferritin than NAFLD patients without metabolic syndrome (HOMA: 8.3 ± 8 vs. 3.7 ± 3.7 mg/dL, p< 0.001; ferritin: 186 ± 192 vs. 87 ± 84 mg/dL, p< 0.01). Logistic regression analysis showed that soft drink consumption is a strong predictor of fatty liver (odds ratio: 2.0; p< 0.04) independent of metabolic syndrome and CRP level.


      NAFLD patients display higher soft drink consumption independent of metabolic syndrome diagnosis. These findings might optimize NAFLD risk stratification.


      NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)


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      • Re: Soft drink consumption is associated with fatty liver disease independent of metabolic syndrome
        Journal of HepatologyVol. 52Issue 6
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          I read with interest the article by A. Abid et al. published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of Hepatology[1]. I found that the paper was interesting and put forth a well designed study. However, before we can take the findings and conclusions very seriously, I invite the authors to comment on Table 3 on page 922 on which most of the conclusions are made. This table presented the results of their multivariate regression analysis but the figures of the odds ratios (ORs) do not agree with the associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for six of the eight co-variates that were reported on (triglyceride, HOMA, CRP, MDA, Ferritin and paraoxonase).
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