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Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Soft drinks - These are defined as drinks that contain carbonated water, sweetener and a flavouring agent. They are considered non-alcoholic though some of the drinks have small amounts (often less than 0.5% alcohol).

Whereas consumption of soft drinks has been declining in most developed western countries, the level is increasing in middle and low income countries.

Health concerns

  • Obesity

  • Hypertension

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Dental caries

  • Malnutrition

  • Kidney stones

  • Insulin resistance

  • Gout

  • Dementia

Effect of soft drinks on the healthy liver

Lipogenesis - leading to fatty liver, even when other known risk factors for non alcoholic fatty liver disease are non existing (Nimer Assy et al).

Effect of soft drinks on risk of development of liver cancer

In 2018, a large European study made an important research discovery regarding the risk of liver cancer in patients that take at least 6 servings of soft drinks.

After 11 years of follow up of their study cohort, they found that 191 patients had liver cancer, out of half a million participants. When they controlled for diabetes and other factors that could confound the statistical analyses, they were able to show that the risk of liver cancer in those patients that had liver cancer was 83% high in the study participants if they drank at least 6 servings of soft drinks, compared to those that did not take soft drinks. In a subgroup analysis, there was a proportionately slighter higher increased rate in those that used artificial sweetener relative to those that took natural sugars.

The researchers concluded that the study provided some insight into possible associations of liver cancer (HCC) with sugary drinks intake.

Link to the study can be accessed here.

It is my advice that, due to the significant health problems associated with sugars and soft drinks, healthy lifestyle adherents should try as much as they can to exclude soft drinks from their meals.

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