Sugary Beverage and Liver Stiffness in Healthy Adults

CW Leung, EB Tapper. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20; 959-961. Sugar-sweetened Beverages Are Associated With Increased Liver Stiffness and Steatosis Among Apparently Healthy Adults in the United States

In this representative sample (2706 adults, median 37.9 years) from 2017-2018 NHANES, subjects without any known chronic disease had tow 24-hr dietary recalls collected and had liver stiffness measurements (LSM) and controlled attenuation parameters (CAP); LSM <7 kPa (using vibration-controlled transient elastography) was considered low risk for advanced fibrosis and CAP >248 dB/m were at risk for heaptosteatosis. Key findings:

  • 11% (n=305) had LSM >7.0 kPa and 46% (n=1254) had CAP >248 dB/m
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) >2/day was associated with greater LSM (OR 2.30)
  • In mutlivariate analysis, consuming >1-2 sugar-sweetened servings per day was associated with elevated CAP (OR 1.51 compared to adults with SSB consumption
  • Limitations: this cross-sectional study cannot prove causality

My take: Even in healthy adults, SSB consumption is associated with detrimental changes in the liver.

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