Soft drinks consumption and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun 7;16(21):2579-88. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i21.2579.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common clinical condition which is associated with metabolic syndrome in 70% of cases. Inappropriate dietary fat intake, excessive intake of soft drinks, insulin resistance and increased oxidative stress combine to increase free fatty acid delivery to the liver, and increased hepatic triglyceride accumulation contributes to fatty liver. Regular soft drinks have high fructose corn syrup which contains basic sugar building blocks, fructose 55% and glucose 45%. Soft drinks are the leading source of added sugar worldwide, and have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The consumption of soft drinks can increase the prevalence of NAFLD independently of metabolic syndrome. During regular soft drinks consumption, fat accumulates in the liver by the primary effect of fructose which increases lipogenesis, and in the case of diet soft drinks, by the additional contribution of aspartame sweetener and caramel colorant which are rich in advanced glycation end products that potentially increase insulin resistance and inflammation. This review emphasizes some hard facts about soft drinks, reviews fructose metabolism, and explains how fructose contributes to the development of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Liver / etiology*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Fructose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Sweetening Agents / metabolism


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Fructose