The medical field has overlooked quite a few of the major pathological effects when it comes to fructose consumption, and what effects it has on the liver’s function. Regardless of the weight gain a person may have from it, the consumption of fructose has been recently studied by researchers who are from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center located in North Carolina. These studies have shown that hepatic steatosis, a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which leads to cirrhosis in some patients, can be caused by fructose consumption.
This same study was published in the AJCN, or the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and discovered that rapid liver damage can be triggered by fructose, even when the remaining factors are equal. This means that someone who is at an average weight can sustain liver damage at an extensive level from consumption of fructose. This can still happen even if she or he does not become obese from this consumption. Those who consume fructose have a propensity at an exceptional level towards developing diabetes, in accordance with the data that was collected from the study.
Kylie Kavanagh, D.V.M, who is an assistant professor in comparative medicine and pathology, as well as the lead author for the study, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has stated that; “Is a calorie a calorie? Are they all created equal? Based on this study, we would say not. What surprised us the most was how quickly the liver was affected, and how extensive the damage was, especially without weight gain as a factor.”
The research was conducted by giving two groups of primates a buffet, all-you-can-eat, for 7 years. The participants in the main target group were given low-fat foods that had added fructose. The control group, however, only had access to low-fructose and low-fat foods. The remaining factors were kept equal, and each animal had access to any quantity of food that they desired.
The monkeys that were in the fructose-given group, during the period of evaluation, gained approximately 50% more weight than the control group. The fructose group also developed diabetes 3x faster than the control group, plus cases of severe hepatic steatosis. These cases were clearly caused by the consumption of fructose.
Fructose Causes Damage to Intestinal Flora, and Causes Gut Leakage
The researchers of the study involved 10 monkeys of middle age and normal weight, to verify that only fructose, not just weight gain and fructose as a combination, is the culprit for liver damage at such a high rate. These monkey test subjects had also never consumed fructose before the study, and also had similar waist circumferences and body shapes. The group was divided into two, comparable groups.
The first group, over the course of 6 weeks, consumed a diet that was calorie-controlled, and contained 24% fructose. The other group’s diet was also calorie-controlled, but contained fructose of negligible amount. Both of the groups were given an amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat equally, but from different sources.
The diet that included high-fructose contained butter, flour, eggs and pork fat. The low-fructose diet included soy protein and complex carbohydrates, which was assigned as a combination to ensure that the groups stayed at a weight that was relatively similar. After the 6 week period ended on both of the regimens, the researchers took blood samples from each monkey. These samples were taken to look for any signs of liver damage, and to assess the bacterial composition inside of the monkey’s, specifically in their guts.
The conclusion was that the fructose harmed the livers, and also altered the gut’s bacterial composition. It was found that fructose caused intestinal microflora leakage from the monkey’s intestines, which entered the bloodstream and further damages the liver up to 30% higher. This, of course, was compared to the consumption of next to no fructose from the second group.