- Researchers have investigated the relationship between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup.
- They found that consuming high amounts of fructose, especially among Mexican Americans who consumed the largest amount, was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD.
- The researchers concluded that people should avoid eating foods high in fructose corn syrup to prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when excess fat builds up in the liver, which can lead to permanent scarring of the liver called cirrhosis. Around
Risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Low HDL cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- high body mass index
Other research also indicates that the prevalence of NAFLD is Highest in Hispanics Compared to black and white.
Exploring high-fructose corn syrup consumption and rates of NAFLD can help researchers determine the underlying causes of different risk factors among ethnic groups.
Recently, researchers analyzed the relationship between NAFLD and high-fructose corn syrup consumption among different races.
They found that higher fructose consumption was associated with higher rates of NAFLD and that Mexican Americans were most affected.
Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruits, fruit juices, some vegetables, and honey. Fructose is also found in high-fructose corn syrup, which is often added to foods such as soft drinks and desserts.
The researchers examined data from 3,292 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2017-2018. Data in their analysis included fructose consumption, demographic factors including race, and the incidence of NAFLD.
Among the participants, 31.3% were in the “moderate” consumption group, and 35.5% were in the high consumption group.
The consumption of fructose came from different sources:
- 29% of baked goods, pasta and other grains
- 28% of fruit and fruit-containing substances
- 16% of sweeteners, spices and sauces
- 16% of soft drinks
In all, 48% of Mexican Americans and 44% of non-Hispanic blacks were in the high fructose consumption group compared to 33% of non-Hispanic whites.
The researchers found that 70% of Mexican Americans in the high fructose consumption group had NAFLD, compared to 52% of Mexican Americans in the low consumption group.
The researchers further found that, of all ethnic groups, people with higher fructose intake were more likely to develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
When asked what might explain the relationship between high fructose corn syrup consumption and NAFLD, Dr. Theodore Friedman, Ph.D.of Charles R. Drew University in Washington, D.C., said the study’s presenting author Medical news today:
“High fructose corn syrup can lead to NAFLD through several mechanisms. It increases the amount of fat that the liver produces. It can also increase inflammation in the liver and can change the way the liver metabolizes glucose. It can also increase belly fat which can lead to infection.” with nonalcoholic fatty liver”.
Dr. Curtis K. pleaseAn assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said:
“High-fructose corn syrup likely triggers a number of inflammatory pathways that may be caused by changes in the composition of the gut microbiome and impairment of the integrity of the GI barrier.”
“[This may then permit] Microbes and toxins (such as endotoxins) gain access to the portal vein circulation and lead to increased lipid deposition and hepatitis via the metabolism of maladaptive lipid droplets in hepatocytes—the main functional hepatocytes—in patients at risk. [In turn, this may then lead] to NAFLD, and perhaps the most harmful version of fatty liver, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.”
The authors conclude that the association between high fructose consumption and the development of NAFLD partially explains the racial and ethnic disparities in NAFLD.
Doctor, Rohit Lumba،, director of the NAFLD Research Center at the University of California San Diego, who was also not involved in the study, said MNT There are limitations to the study.
Dr. Lumba explained that the results came from epidemiological studies, and the researchers only found an association and not causal inference.
Dr. Argo added: “This study is limited because it is based on all non-invasive factors (rather than liver biopsy, which is the long-standing gold standard) inaccurate in measuring liver fat content. In general, the number of subjects is only a small fraction of the patients who participated in NHANES Studies”.