The Relationship Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Liver Enzymes Among Healthy Premenopausal Women: A Prospective Cohort Study

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

European Journal of Nutrition


Dietary sucrose, Fructose, Liver enzymes, Menstrual cycle, Sugar-sweetened beverages


PURPOSE: To prospectively assess the association between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), added sugar, and total fructose and serum concentrations of liver enzymes among healthy, reproductive-age women. METHODS: A prospective cohort of 259 premenopausal women (average age 27.3 ± 8.2 years; BMI 24.1 ± kg/m(2)) were followed up for up to two menstrual cycles, providing up to eight fasting blood specimens/cycle and four 24-h dietary recalls/cycle. Women with a history of chronic disease were excluded. Alanine and aspartate aminotransferases (ALT and AST, respectively) were measured in serum samples. Linear mixed models estimated associations between average SSB, added sugar, and total fructose intake and log-transformed liver enzymes adjusting for age, race, body mass index, total energy and alcohol intake, and Mediterranean diet score. RESULTS: For every 1 cup/day increase in SSB consumption and 10 g/day increase in added sugar and total fructose, log ALT increased by 0.079 U/L (95 % CI 0.022, 0.137), 0.012 U/L (95 % CI 0.002, 0.022), and 0.031 (0.012, 0.050), respectively, and log AST increased by 0.029 U/L (-0.011, 0.069), 0.007 U/L (0.000, 0.014), and 0.017 U/L (0.004, 0.030), respectively. Women who consumed ≥1.50 cups/day (12 oz can) SSB versus less had 0.127 U/L (95 % CI 0.001, 0.254) higher ALT [percent change 13.5 % (95 % CI 0.1, 28.9)] and 0.102 (95 % CI 0.015, 0.190) higher AST [percent change 10.8 % (95 % CI 1.5, 20.9)]. CONCLUSIONS: Sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with higher serum ALT and AST concentrations among healthy premenopausal women, indicating that habitual consumption of even moderate SSB may elicit hepatic lipogenesis.