A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated disease-promoting changes in liver function with consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The authors discuss the dramatic increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as a direct effect of HFCS intake. They describe the following effects on metabolism of 6 days of increased HFCS intake:
- A doubling of VLDL and total triglycerides in the liver
- An increased efficiency of turning fructose into liver fat
- A significant decrease in the ability to break down VLDL triglycerides
- A significant increase in liver fat
In an editorial on the article the author states "One of the most remarkable medical developments over the past 3 decades is the emergence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as a public health problem in the United States and internationally. When I was a medical resident in the early 1980s, chronic liver disease was almost always due to alcohol intake, viral infection, or hepatobiliary conditions. Now, the leading cause of chronic elevations in liver enzymes in the serum is NAFLD."
HFCS is a major contributor to weight gain, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and ultimately heart disease and diabetes. Please note that agave necter--a popular natural sweetener, is higher in fructose than HFCS, and likely has the same effects! Read the study here.