Restricting Fructose Cuts Liver Fat in Kids
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Friday, April 10, 2015 12:00 AM

In just 10 days, restricting the amount of fructose children consumed through sugary drinks and juices resulted in "dramatic" reductions in liver fat, researchers reported.  During the intervention, the conversion of sugar to fat in the 40 children in the study declined by 56% and the liver fat declined by more than 20%.  There were no calorie differences in the diets as the meals prepared for the study participants had simple sugars replaced with complex carbohydrates.

"We did some studies first in adults and showed that high fructose consumption is associated with liver fat accumulation, hypertriglyceridemia, and increased conversion of sugar to fat in the liver known as hepatic de novo lipogenesis."  Researchers wanted to see if changes in diet would have an impact on both hepatic de novo lipogenesis and concentrations of fat in the liver.

"When we ingest fructose in large quantities, such as in fruit juices or in sodas, it caused almost a tsunami in the liver, forcing it to produce more fat.  We wanted to do an intervention study to see what would happen if we changed the fructose intake. We wanted to see if there were some benefits that could be seen in the short term."

"Results suggest that hepatic de novo lipogenesis is an important mechanism contributing to liver fat accumulation in children, which can be reversed by short-term fructose restriction," the group stated. "Our data support public health efforts to reduce sugar consumption."

"When you have a 12-year-old who has 50% of fat in the liver, that is not a good thing. If you have that at 12, it is going to have a lot of impact," Schwarz said. "This is also correlated with fat in the blood and that puts one at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. The earlier you can prevent that, the earlier you can avoid those issues, and, I think, the better off you are."