The Scary Disease You Can Get By Drinking Just One Soda A Day

Beyond heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and kidney issues...

woman drinking soda Getty

Most people like to enjoy a refreshing beverage on a hot day, to relax, or with a meal to add an extra boost of flavor.

It's no secret that Americans love soda, in particular, with a Gallup poll finding that more than half of Americans drink one or more glasses of soda a day, and 7 percent of Americans drink four or more sodas a day.

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While it may be a delicious treat to some, there's no denying that the amount of sugar in sodas and soft drinks is alarming.

Drinks like Coca Cola contain 39g of sugar, Sprite has 38g of sugar, and Mountain Dew contains 46g of sugar — and that's only for one 12oz can!

Over the years, study after study has warned us about the effects of drinking soda and other sugary beverages.

Not only can too much sugar, in general, cause diabetes and weight gain, but puts you at serious risk for heart disease and lowers cognitive function.

But now, there is yet another serious side effect of drinking too much soda to worry about.


If you drink soda, lemonade or even fruit drinks everyday, you have a much greater risk of developing liver disease.

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A study from Tufts University, published in the Journal of Hepatology, examined the diet of 2,634 people, hoping to see whether a correlation existed between the amount of sugar-fueled beverages they drank and the size of their liver.

Unfortunately, the results are pretty scary.

Researchers found that "a higher presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in those who said they drank more than one sugary beverage a day compared to those who said they didn’t drink sugary beverages."


In simpler terms, individuals who regularly drink sugary beverages are at higher risk of developing fatty liver disease, especially in those individuals who are obese or overweight; diet soda intake, however, "was not associated with measures of fatty liver disease," the study read.

Even more recently, a 2020 study published in Nature Metabolism found that long-term ingestion of high fructose corn syrup showed deterioration in the intestinal wall barrier as well as inflammation of the liver.

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"Mice fed a high-fructose diet also had higher circulating levels of endotoxins—toxins released from certain bacteria when they die. The livers of these mice were inflamed," the study concluded.


Michael Karin, lead author of the Tufts University study, said, "Unfortunately, many processed foods contain HFCS and most people cannot estimate how much fructose they actually consume."

William Carey, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, confirmed this, adding, "Many studies suggest that the high fructose corn syrup found in sodas is more likely to result in fatty liver than other forms of sugar."

While it looks like beer and alcohol aren't the only things that will kill your liver, now is probably a good time to switch to water or cut back on your sugar intake altogether.


RELATED: Surprising Things That Happen To Your Body When You Quit Sugar For 10 Days

When she isn't researching the latest viral news, lifestyle, and relationship studies, binge-watching YouTube videos (for science!), or creating vision boards on the hottest beauty and fashion trends on Pinterest, Cassandra Rose is nerding out over her comic books and all things Sherlock Holmes.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in June 2015 and was updated with the latest information.