Fructose, the sweetener used in many sugary soft drinks, has been linked with increased rates of liver disease by a new study.

Israeli researchers found that drinking a litre of fizzy drinks a day – just two cans – meant consumers were five times more likely to develop ‘fatty liver disease’.

“We found people who drink more than two cans of Coke a day have increased their chances for a fatty liver and, if left untreated, their chances for heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver also increase,” said Dr Nimer Assy, who headed up the study.

Assy claimed diet drinks using artificial sweetener could also pose a threat.

“While diet drinks do not contain fructose, they do have aspartame and caramel colourants,” he said. “Both these can increase insulin resistance and may induce fatty liver.”

Meanwhile, research published in scientific journal Nutrition has claimed that drinking beer could help cut the risk of osteoporosis – or brittle bones – in women, due to its silicon content.

“Silicon plays a major role in bone formation,” the study said. “Beer has been claimed to be one of the most important sources of silicon in the Western diet.”