According to previous experiments, it was evident that consumption of fructose in higher amount can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fructose is a sweetener which is abundant in the American diet. However, according to a new research study by the researchers of University of California San Diego School of Medicine have reported that fructose only unfavorably affects the liver once it reaches the intestines, where the sugar disturbs the epithelial wall that protects internal organs from bacterial toxins in the gut.
Moreover, fructose intake in the U.S. is abundant and usage of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a low-priced sugar substitute has wide application in processed foods, including cereals, bakery products, and soft drinks. However, this research study outlines HFCS role in the development of fatty liver disease.
Michael Karin, lead author stated, “The ability of fructose, which is plentiful in dried figs and dates, to induce fatty liver was known to the ancient Egyptians, who fed ducks and geese dried fruit to make their version of foie gras. With the advent of modern biochemistry and metabolic analysis, it became obvious that fructose is two to three times more potent than glucose in increasing liver fat, a condition that triggers NAFLD. And the increased consumption of soft drinks containing HFCS corresponds with the explosive growth in NAFLD incidence.”
In the research study, researchers utilized mouse models by feeding them high amounts of fructose, and observed that high amount of fructose metabolism in the intestinal cells diminishes the production of proteins that preserve the gut barrier that prevent bacteria and microbial products such as endotoxins, from leaking out of the intestines and flowing in the blood and further leads to chronic inflammatory condition known as endotoxemia.
Researchers also observed that when consumption of fructose was lessened below a certain threshold, no adverse effects were detected in mice, thereby concluding that only high amount and longstanding intake of fructose results in adverse health effects.