Study relates liquid fructose intake to fatty liver disease

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The study states that when we eat fruit, the amount of taken fructose is a lot lower compared to a sweetened drink

A high-fat diet is not enough to cause short-term fatty liver disease. However, if this diet is combined with the intake of beverages sweetened with liquid fructose, the accumulation of fats in the liver accelerates and hypertriglyceridemia —a cardiovascular risk factor— can appear.


This is explained in a study on a mouse experimental model, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research and led by Professor Juan Carlos Laguna, from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, the Institute of Biomedicine of Barcelona (IBUB) and the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEROBN).


According to the new study, the effect caused by fructose in the increase in the synthesis of fatty acids in the liver is more decisive than the external introduction of fats through the diet. The combination of the saturated fat from the dietary origin and the induction of the endogen synthesis of fatty acids is what causes the emergence of the fatty liver. 


The effects described in the study are only observable if fructose is taken in its liquid form. “Regarding sweetened beverages, fructose is quickly absorbed and it reaches the liver massively, producing the described metabolic alterations. To find a comparison, we could talk about the appearance of a fructose overdose when this is taken in sweetened drinks”, notes the team.


“However, when we eat fruit, the amount of taken fructose is a lot lower compared to a sweetened drink. Also, the process of chewing it and the presence of other elements in the fruit, such as fiber, slows down the absorption of fructose and its arrival to the liver”, conclude the authors. 

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