According to Wikipedia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one cause of fatty liver when deposited fat is NOT due to excessive alcohol use. Rather it is related to insulin resistance. This condition can worsen to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and is a major cause of cirrhosis. The study done by Schulz et al. (2013) set out to show a correlation between high fructose consumption and NAFLD.
What is fructose? It is a simple sugar found in fruits and some vegetables and is used extensively in processed foods, soda, and synthetic sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup which is commonly used in packaged foods and juices. There is growing evidence due to its harmful effects on metabolism, ingestion of fructose can induce the characteristics of metabolic syndrome (Schulz et al., 2013). In fact, in countries with higher availability of high fructose corn syrup there is a higher correlation to the presence of type 2 diabetes regardless of obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
High caloric intake from fructose and refined sugars correlates with increases in dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and NAFLD. According to Schulz et al. (2013), the clinical manifestation of insulin resistance in the liver is NAFLD when high fat intake is coupled with high sugar or fructose intake. Also, NAFLD is the first step towards the hepatic disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This leads to cirrhosis and even cancers of the liver.
This study was undertaken to compare the impact of the effects of two different types of dietary regimens, one with high-fructose content and the other with high-fat content, as well as the combination of the two regimens, and also on alterations in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, adipose tissue, the endocrine pancreas and the liver.
In conclusion, this study demonstrated that in the presence of a high fat and high fructose diet, even when obesity is not present, insulin resistance and NAFLD are major contributors to changes in the liver. This is also seen along with abnormal lipids and insulin resistance. This study shows the importance of educating people about proper nutrition and how certain substances, specifically, fructose can be harmful in excess amounts especially when living amongst a society filled with processed, packaged foods.
Schultz, A., Neil, D., Auila, M., Mandarim-de-Lacerda, C. (2013). Hepatic Adverse Effects of
Fructose Consumption Independent of Overweight/Obesity. International Journal of
Molecular Science, 14(11): 21873-21886, doi: 10.3390/ijms141121873.