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High Fructose Intake Linked to Liver Damage

As obesity rates among all age groups continue to rise, there's also been a rapid rise in chronic health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart disease and cancer. There’s no doubt that the food people are eating is a large contributing factor. The average American consumes one-third of a pound of sugar per day, half of which is processed fructose, which is the most damaging type.


The majority of all this sugar is hidden in processed foods and beverages. Previous research has linked fructose to plenty of damaging health conditions and, according to a new study, one such condition includes liver damage.

In the study, researchers compared six different diets, then analyzed known markers of fatty liver. They found that acylcarnitines were the highest with a high fat plus high fructose diet. They were the lowest with a high fat plus glucose diet — even lower than with a plain high fat diet.

Acylcarnitines are found in tissues and body fluids; Carnitine acylcarnitine translocase deficiency occurs when the body is not able to break down certain fats. The researchers also monitored CPT1a — a critical enzyme for fat burning. They found that in a high fat plus fructose diet, CPT1a levels were very low, meaning that the mitochondria were unable to function properly.

The researchers concluded that high fructose intake may damage the liver’s ability to burn fat properly. Lead study author C. Ronald Kahn explained, “The most important takeaway of this study is that high fructose in the diet is bad. It's not bad because it's more calories, but because it has effects on liver metabolism to make it worse at burning fat. As a result, adding fructose to the diet makes the liver store more fat, and this is bad for the liver and bad for whole body metabolism.”

To address obesity and/or diabetes, ridding your diet of processed foods is key. Optimizing your gut flora may be another one of the most important things you can do for your health. Not only could it help normalize your weight and ward off diabetes, but it's also a critical component for a well-functioning immune system, which is your primary defense against all sorts of disease. To optimize your gut bacteria, be sure to eat plenty of fermented foods and consider taking a probiotic supplement.

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