Even modest consumption of added sugar may affect the liver
- Consuming moderate amounts of specific types of sugar may double the production of fat in the liver.
- This in turn can lead to the development of fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
A recent study found that sucrose boosted fat synthesis slightly more than the same amount of fructose
New research provides further evidence of the dangers of consuming sugar, proposing that ingesting even moderate amounts of the substance may lead to a change in a person’s metabolism.
Researchers at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, and the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, recently reported their findings in the Journal of Hepatology.
Some sugars are natural components of fruits and vegetables. However, many of the processed foods we eat contain added sugars — sugar that the manufacturers add to foods and beverages to enhance their flavor improve food’s appearance and texture.
High sugar intake has been linked to numerous health problems, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
In 2015, the WHO advised that people eat no more than 5% of their daily calories from added sugar. For a diet of 2,000 calories per day, this would amount to 100 calories or 6 teaspoons or roughly 25 grams (g) of added sugar.
In 2015, market research firm Euromonitor reported that the average person in the United States consumes more than 126 g of sugar per day.
Meanwhile, the average person in the United Kingdom consumed 93.2 g.
Switzerland did not make the list of the top 10 countries whose citizens consume the most sugar. Still, the average person there consumed 76.1 g per day in 2015.
Examining moderate consumption of added sugar
Authors of the study were interested in finding out what happens when people consume moderate amounts of added sugar.For their work, which they carried out between 2013 and 2016, they recruited 94 healthy male volunteers. The participants were aged 18–30 years and had a BMI under 24kg/m2, which is considered a moderate weight.The researchers selected participants under a certain weight to decrease the odds of recruiting people who had possibly already developed increased liver fat content.Males who already consumed sugar-sweetened beverages daily or who logged more than 3 hours of physical activity per week were also excluded.The researchers explained they did not study females, “as there is evidence for divergent metabolic effects of fructose on male and female subjects.
Written by Beth JoJack on March 19, 2021