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Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Increase Fat Production in the Liver

Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Increase Fat Production in the Liver

Sugar-sweetened beverages are drinks with added sugar including non-diet soft drinks/sodas, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks, energy drinks, and electrolyte replacement drinks. A new study suggests that beverages sweetened with fructose and sucrose may be associated with increased fat production in the liver.

Ninety-four healthy men with an average age of 24 participated in the study. For 7 weeks, half of them consumed a sugar-sweetened beverage containing fructose, sucrose, or glucose 3 times daily. The other half did not consume any sugar-sweetened beverages. The researchers used labeled substances in the beverages that could be traced as they moved through the body to analyze the effect of sugar sweetened beverages on the synthesis of fatty acids, triglycerides, and plasma free fatty acids.

The researchers found that fat production in the liver was twice as high in the fructose group compared to the glucose and control groups. Consumption of sucrose increased fat production in the liver slightly more than fructose consumption. The increase in fat production in the liver was still present more than 12 hours after consumption of fructose or sucrose.

Alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages include water, seltzer water and ¼ cup of 100% juice, homemade unsweetened iced tea, low calories hot chocolate.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Zurich.It was published on March 5, 2021 in the Journal of Hepatology.

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