Many Americans are currently at risk for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Overweight or obese people — as well as those with diabetes, high cholesterol, or rapid weight loss — are most at risk for the disease.

Today, about one in five school-aged children is obese, and the condition also affects more than one-third of United States adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise in obesity makes it crucial for people to know more about NAFLD and its triggers.

Read: Caffeine Could Be Good For Your Liver: Coffee And Tea Study Shows How The Chemical Can Reduce Fatty Liver

Typically, there are no symptoms of NAFLD, the American Liver Foundation reported. If they do develop, signs of the disease can include fatigue, weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, itching, jaundice, and spider-like blood vessels.

The disease occurs when extra fat builds up within liver cells, but it is not caused by alcohol. There are many potential triggers of NAFLD to avoid.

One recent study found that if obese youth eat a diet high in fructose and have some buildup of fats in their livers, they could be at higher risk of NAFLD later on.

"Cells don't use fructose for energy, so 100 percent of the fructose you eat is metabolized in your liver," said study co-author Dr. Valerio Nobili, according to Fox News.

Results showed a higher risk of NAFLD if people drank a lot of soda and sweetened drinks. Almost one-third of Americans drink at least one sugary beverage or soda every day, HealthDay reported.

Read: Fatty Liver Disease On The Rise: What Is It And Can It Be Prevented?

Last month, another study was published revealing that a single high-fat meal actually disrupts liver function. Results showed that eating many of these meals could potentially lead to serious disease down the line.

“Our findings paint the picture of the earliest changes in liver metabolism leading to fatty liver diseases and liver cirrhosis in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said study co-author Dr. Michael Roden, according to CBS News.

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