High-Calorie Diets More Responsible for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease than Sugar

According to an article in ScienceDaily, Sugar Intake Not Directly Related to Liver Disease, it’s high-calorie diets that promote the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) rather than sugar. This conclusion is based on a new study published in Gastroenterology.

The authors of the study further say that recommending a low-fructose or low-glycemic diet to prevent NAFLD is ‘unjustified.” The best advice to prevent NAFLD is to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise. If you want to lower your risks of this liver disease, you should maintain or reduce your weight to healthy levels, and be physically active as much as possible.

This goes against current beliefs that sugar and fructose consumption is directly associated with NAFLD. This new study, however, shows that the sugar or fructose molecules themselves don’t promote NAFLD. Rather it’s the high calorie intake that promotes fat accumulation in our livers. The source of the calories can be from any food source, and not just from sugar or fructose.

This is the conclusion of a double-blind study conducted by researchers from the University of Nottingham. The study determined the effects on the liver of healthy, but overweight men of consuming high levels of glucose and fructose under two types of dietary conditions. The first is weight-maintaining or moderate calorie diet, and the second dietary condition is a weight-gaining or high-calorie diet.

There were no significant changes to their livers while on the weight-maintaining diet. This means that consumption of neither glucose nor fructose changed their livers. However, with the weight-gaining diet, both glucose and fructose consumption produced signs of NAFLD. The study’s conclusion is that “calorie intake is the factor responsible for the progression of liver disease.”

This study shows that sugar consumption isn’t directly responsible for NAFLD. However, if you consume enough of any sugar to increase your calorie intake to the point of gaining weight, you increase your risks of developing NAFLD.

The best advice from the results of this study is to maintain or reduce your weight to healthy levels with a healthy lifestyle of a healthy diet and exercise. Be careful when consuming foods with hidden calories, like processed foods with added sugars. It’s the added calories that harms your liver, and not the sugar itself.