The Surprising Non-alcoholic Drink that Leads to a Fatty Liver and the One Can Help You Reverse, Prevent It
According to the American Liver Foundation, approximately 100 million Americans are affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD), and its prevalence is increasing.
What Are the Causes of Fatty Liver Disease?
The causes of fatty liver disease include metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and insulin resistance), Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and excessive carbohydrate consumption.
A recent study presented at ENDO 2022, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, revealed that soft drinks can also elevate the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected between 2017 and 2018, focusing on 3,292 participants. The findings indicated that 70% of Mexican Americans with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease had diets high in fructose.
Conversely, those who consumed less fructose had a lower likelihood of developing the same liver-related condition. This led the researchers to conclude that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup, commonly found in soft drinks, can increase the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Dr. Hillel Tobias, the director of hepatology at the Concorde Medical Group in New York and affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital, emphasized the direct correlation between high fructose consumption and the incidence of fatty liver disease across different population segments.
He added: “An analysis of the deleterious effect of high fructose corn syrup on the development of fatty liver disease presented at the Endocrine Society meeting confirms the importance of controlling the intake of this harmful ingredient found in most sodas and candies.”
Alyssa Wilson, RD and Signos Health nutritionist, further explained that a 12 oz can of Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Wilson highlighted the negative impact of soda consumption, including the promotion of blood sugar spikes, which can lead to symptoms such as energy crashes, irritability, increased hunger, and sugar cravings. Regular consumption of soda, particularly those containing high fructose corn syrup, has been linked to chronic health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Diet sodas, which contain artificial sweeteners, may also have detrimental effects, including impaired glucose metabolism, increased calorie intake, and weight gain, according to some studies.
To treat or protect oneself from fatty liver disease, experts emphasize the importance of reversing the condition before it causes serious harm.
Dr. Jamile Wakim-Fleming, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Fatty Liver Disease Program, highlights key measures to undertake.
These include weight loss if obesity is present; proper treatment of diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal lipid profiles; and addressing any underlying endocrine disorders.
By addressing these factors, which contribute to fat accumulation in the liver, the cycle of metabolic syndrome can be broken, leading to improvements in fatty liver disease.
In addition to these measures, avoiding soft drinks, adopting a Mediterranean diet, and consuming up to three cups of coffee per day have been suggested to support liver health.
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