Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in children and adolescents, due to the increased worldwide incidence of obesity among children. It is now clear enough that of diet high in carbohydrates and simple sugars are associated with hepatic steatosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Several studies have shown that an increased consumption of simple sugars is also positively associated with overweight and obesity, and related co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and NAFLD. It is difficult to define the role of the various components of soft drinks and energy drinks in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and its progression in NASH, but the major role is played by high calorie and high sugar consumption, mainly fructose. In addition, other components of these beverages (e.g. xanthine) seem to have an important role in the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders, crucial pathways involved in NAFLD/NASH. The drastic reduction in the consumption of energy drinks and soft drinks is an appropriate intervention for the prevention of obesity and NAFLD in young people.
Keywords: Adolescents; Alcohol; Energy drinks; Fructose; NAFLD; Soft drinks.