Be warned. Soda, pizza and salty food up your kid’s liver disease risk

Consuming a diet comprising soda, sweetened beverages, pizza, salty food, biscuits and yogurt is bad for your kids as it leads to a fatty liver condition, says a study.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 18, 2017 09:05 IST
Soda,Pizza,Salty food
Junk food is also linked to liver problems, says a study.

Here’s yet another reason you must absolutely control your kid’s junk food intake. Researchers have warned that children who regularly take fructose present in soda, sweetened beverages, pizza and salty food, biscuits and yogurt may be prone to liver disease.

According to a study, led by researchers from Bambino Gesu Hospital in Italy, dietary fructose increases serum uric acid concentrations.

Both uric acid concentration and fructose consumption may be high in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) -- a condition where extra fat is accumulated in liver cells in people who drink little or no alcohol.

It is estimated to affect up to 30 per cent of the general population in Western countries and up to 9.6 per cent of all children and 38 per cent of obese children across a spectrum of liver disease, including NASH (defined as steatosis, hepatocyte ballooning and inflammation).

Kids should be discouraged from having unhealthy diet. (Shutterstock)

Although NASH is a less aggressive form of NAFLD, it can progress to severe fibrosis and cirrhosis, with development of hepatocellular carcinoma in adults.

The findings suggested that fructose consumption was independently associated with high uric acid, which occurred more frequently in patients with NASH than in not-NASH patients.

“It is plausible that dietary fructose intake and uric acid concentrations are potential risk factors for liver disease progression in NAFLD,” said Valerio Nobili from Bambino Gesu Hospital in Italy.

“The study shows for the first time that uric acid concentrations and dietary fructose consumption are independently and positively associated with NASH,” Nobili added.

Uric acid concentration and fructose consumption may be high in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (Shutterstock)

For the study, reported in the Journal of Hepatology, the team analysed 271 obese children and adolescents with NAFLD -- 155 males, mean age 12.5 years -- who underwent liver biopsy.

Nearly 90 per cent were found drinking sodas and soft drinks one or more times a week. Almost 95 per cent of patients regularly consumed morning and afternoon snacks consisting of crackers, pizza and salty food, biscuits, yogurt, or other snacks.

The development of NASH may markedly affect life expectancy and quality of life in affected individuals.

“Thus, it is crucial to understand the risk factors for NASH in children and adolescents in order to design effective interventions,” Nobili said.

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First Published: Feb 16, 2017 09:33 IST