Health Magazine

A Sickly Sweet Diet Results in a Very Sick Liver…

By Staceycurcio @staceymccosker


Is your liver a little on the fatty side?  According to a recent report Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease afflicts a MASSIVE 5,538,677 Aussies! To compare this to other liver diseases, Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease affects around 6,000 people, and Hepatitis B and C affects around 500,000 Australians.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a very serious threat to many. Frighteningly, it’s increasingly common in children and most individuals are actually asymptomatic… meaning that millions of Aussies are getting about their day with no symptoms to indicate they have a fatty liver.

How does the liver actually get fatty?

A healthy liver will convert excess carbohydrate into fat, which is normally shipped off to various parts of the body for storage. When the liver becomes overwhelmed with simple carbohydrate/sugars/fructose, and is at capacity in terms of its ability to export fat…. sooooo…. it accumulates it!

NAFLD is associated with a high risk for type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, metabolic syndrome and resultant cardiovascular disease (which just happen to be the biggest killers in the Western world).  In fact, more than 90% of obese people, and up to 70% of those with Type 2 Diabetes have NAFLD.

One trial, which was published in the Journal of Hepatology, showed that long term soft drink consumption could result in liver failure and the potential need for a transplant. Scary.


What about kids?

With the current worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity, pediatric NAFLD is increasingly being diagnosed. We know that SUGAR and HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP causes the vast majority of fatty-liver in both adults and kids.

A sickly sweet diet leads to a sick liver…

An interesting study done last year is but ONE of many studies to link sugar to NAFLD. It involved giving four groups of people four different drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Skim Milk and Mineral Water). After 6 months, as well as increased blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol; the Coke group had MASSIVELY increased liver fat (140%) when compared to the other groups.

Another trial which involved feeding individuals large quantities of chocolates (the cheap kind), pineapple juice, soft drinks and sports drinks found that after three weeks, refined carbohydrate overfeeding induced a >10-fold greater relative change in liver fat than in body weight. After just THREE weeks!!

Before you start heading for the DIET drinks, think again! Whilst diet drinks do not contain fructose, they do have aspartame and caramel colourants, both of which increase insulin resistance and may induce fatty liver.

NAFLD is forecast to affect over SEVEN million people by 2030. At the moment, there’s an awful lot of money being poured into helping those with liver disease deal with their condition… and the medical community is bracing themselves for a potential onslaught of liver transplants.

I only wish the same attention (and funding) was given to the restriction of sugar-laden breakfast cereals, biscuits, soft-drinks and snack foods which are actually promoted as “healthy”.

The Good News

NAFLD is completely REVERSIBLE! The evidence shows that with a reduction of liquid sugary beverages and junk food, along with lots of fresh foods and clean protein, the liver is back in good shape within a few months, and has very little residual fat.

Breastfeeding is also highly protective! Studies show that infants breastfed for more than 6 months were less than half as likely to have NAFLD as adolescents. Preventative medicine at its best!

The solution is tragically simple… to reduce your risk of having a fatty liver, eat and drink less processed sugar.

Until next time,


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