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Eating A Diet Full of High Fructose Corn Syrup and Fat Could Lead to Serious Liver Problems & More, Study Finds

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:35pm

I continue to be dumbfounded at the profusion of research studies, which reveal, time and time again, the far-reaching, life-shortening dangers of consuming too much sugar and refined carbs -- something most Americans do.

This new study -- presented last week at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Washington, D.C.-- reveals the potentially devastating affects on your liver and other vital organs of a high-fat and high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened diet, compounded by a sedentary lifestyle. Of course, this is a diet commonplace for many Americans.

Get ready to be astounded by these results.

Art_tetri_4Brent Tetri, M.D., professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University Liver Center and a leading researcher in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease -- which can lead to cirrhosis and, ultimately, death -- examined the effects on mice of eating foods with about 40% fat and high in high fructose corn syrup. (For those of you who've read my book SUGAR SHOCK!, you know that HFCS is pervasive in our food supply, from sodas to fruit drinks to frozen foods.)

The results of the study, according to the Saint Louis University press release, surprised even the researchers.

A mere four weeks into what was designed as a 16-week experiment, the mice -- who were deliberately kept sedentary (like many Americans, of course) -- showed signs of serious liver problems, as well as glucose intolerance.

Dr. Tetri confesses: "We had a feeling we'd see evidence of fatty liver disease by the end of the study," he notes. "But we were surprised to find how severe the damage was and how quickly it occurred. It took only four weeks for liver enzymes to increase and for glucose intolerance -- the beginning of type II diabetes -- to begin."

It's important to note that in feeding the mice, the researchers sought "to mirror the kind of diet many Americans subsist on, so the high fat content is about the same you'd find in a typical McDonald's meal, and the high fructose corn syrup translates to about eight cans of soda a day in a human diet, which is not far off from what some people consume," Dr. Tetri said in a statement. "But we were also keeping the mice sedentary, with a very limited amount of activity."

Another interesting aspect of the study is that the mice were allowed to eat whenever they wanted. And sure enough, they went at it. Dr. Tetri suggests that fructose actually suppresses your feeling of fullness so that you consume more. (FYI, other scientists have suggested as much -- in fact, this is a theory that I explore in my book SUGAR SHOCK! )

So what does Dr. Tetri's study mean for humans? That the typical American diet -- high in HFCS and fat -- could -- along with a sedentary lifestyle -- be quite dangerous to your liver and could even lead to glucose intolerance, which could turn into type 2 diabetes. 

But remember folks, there is hope even if you're one of out eight children who have fatty liver disease.

Dr. Tetri points out: "The good news is that it is somewhat reversible -- but for some it will take major changes in diet and lifestyle."

Folks, I do hope you take to heart the lessons to be learned from this study. The transitory taste of soda and other sugary, fatty foods just isn't worth the potential health hazards. But, rest assured. You can learn to enjoy healthy, nutritious foods and to live a happier, healthier life. For some tips to kick sugar, I invite you to check out my book SUGAR SHOCK!

Special thanks to my researcher Jennifer Moore and to Medical News Today for alerting me to this study.

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