Dietary Fructose Linked To Liver Damage

We all think that the artificial sweetener we add to our coffees is better for our diets, but a new study shows that it can be linked to liver damage.

Though the relationship between dietary fructose and fatty liver diseases and obesity remains controversial, a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center showed that fructose can seriously affect the liver — even with no signs of weight gain. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on June 19 explained that two calories might not be created equal; in fact, liver damage more than doubled in monkeys who were fed a diet of high-fructose low-fat foods for a six-week period. Compared to the control group that was fed a low-fructose low-fat diet, the high-fructose monkeys developed diabetes three times faster and hepatic steatosis, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The lead author of the study, Wake Forest Baptist Professor Kylie Kavanagh, D.V.M., said in a statement, "We studied fructose because it is the most commonly added sugar in the American diet." Though she can't say conclusively that fructose caused the liver damage, Kavanaugh says that what is proven is that high levels of added sugars caused bacteria to exit the intestines, go into the blood stream, and damage the liver.

So next time you think you're doing yourself a favor by picking up artificial sweetener, a soft drink, or an energy drink, think of using the natural stuff, parking in the back of the parking lot, and walking a bit further than usual. Your liver will thank you.