The research has generated widespread media coverage today (12 August), including the front page of the Daily Express.
It was released by scientists in the Ziv Liver unit in Haifa, Israel, who found that people who consumed a litre of fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and fresh fruit juices every day were five times more likely to develop fatty liver disease, as well as diabetes and heart damage.
Dr Nimer Assy, who led the study which has been published in the Journal of Hepathology, says the research showed that long-term consumption of high-sugar beverages could result in liver failure and the need for a transplant.
He adds that freshly-squeezed fruit juices could be just as dangerous as highly sweetened carbonated soda.
But in a statement the BSDA argues that the study is “based on a very small sample size and doesn’t show any causal relationship between soft drinks consumption and liver damage”.
“The authors of the study confirmed that: ‘The independent role of soft drink in NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) patients with major risk factors remains unclear.’,” the BSDA says.
The industry body adds that moderate consumption of soft drinks remains safe, with ingredients used by the UK soft drinks industry approved by the Food Standards Agency.
“Nutrition labelling is included on pack so people can make an informed choice about the products they are drinking. 61% of soft drinks are now low calorie, diet and no added sugar drinks and the industry provides a wide range of drinks and pack sizes to meet every occasion, taste and need,” the BSDA says.