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Study Reveals that Fructose May Cause Liver Disease

Emma | September 26th, 2012

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A small pilot study supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine recently revealed that fructose, a popular sugar, is associated with impairment in cellular energy balance and liver disease in diabetic and overweight patients. Fructose has been linked to increased lipogenesis, dyslipidemia, impaired insulin sensitivity, and an increase in visceral fat. Notably, these effects seem limited to fructose and not other sugars, such as glucose.

Cutting out fructose is an important step to controlling diabetes without reliance on insulin injections, but the best cure for type 2 diabetes is a healthy, sustainable diabetes diet. Fast weight loss and diet programs for diabetics, such as those designed by The Center for Medical Weight Loss, focus on long-term health and permanent lifestyle changes, like a nutritious diet and regular exercise.

Study reveals that high fructose levels can affect insulin and the liver

Manal Abdelmalek, a doctor from Duke University Medical Center who was involved in the study, explained that high fructose consumption elevates an individual’s uric acid levels. High levels of uric acid are, in turn, a possible marker for energy depletion in the liver, which might contribute to the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Over the last 30 years, as the United States has become more dependent of fructose sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup, rates of NAFLD, type 2 diabetes, and obesity have also risen. In addition to its association of NAFLD and liver disease, research also links fructose to the increasing rate of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. Abdelmalek opined, “Given the concurrent rise in fructose consumption and metabolic diseases… we need to fully understand the impact of a high-fructose diet on liver function and liver disease.”

High fructose consumption tied to higher calorie intake

The Action for Health in Diabetes Fatty Liver Ancillary Study surveyed 244 participants who had low to high daily levels of fructose consumption. Interestingly, patients who consumed low amounts (15 grams or fewer) of fructose consumed an average of 219 calories less per day (1497 calories versus 1719 calories). They also had healthier liver function. However, researchers cautioned that the study had been very small and was therefore not strong enough to determine significance. Further research is needed.

A healthy diabetic diet incorporates little to no fructose

Nevertheless, it is clear that fructose is a sugar of little nutritional value that contributes to higher daily calorie consumption. It is also known that fructose impairs insulin sensitivity, therefore harming diabetics. Eliminating or restricting the consumption of fructose can help diabetics control their disease with no need for medication. This, in conjunction with a diabetic diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, is a key component of a healthy lifestyle.

The fast weight loss programs offered at The Center for Medical Weight Loss have helped thousands of people lose weight quickly and successfully. These physician-assisted diet programs help you achieve sustainable weight loss, and help patients start reversing diabetes, by incorporating delicious foods and regular exercise into your life. To find out if there is a Center near you, input your zip code into the box at the top right. Special offers are available at some locations.