Our bodies react to what we consume; the good, the bad, and the questionable. Sometimes we can’t help but crave foods like potato chips, ice cream, or even fast-food french fries. As good as these foods taste, they can negatively impact our health—especially our liver. The liver is susceptible to problems like liver disease, and it can be caused by your diet.
In fact, further research suggests that consuming moderate amounts of added sugars may double the production of fat in the liver, in turn leading to the development of fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, ingesting even moderate amounts of that sugar may lead to amounts of change in your metabolism.
A study reported in the Journal of Hepatology concluded that fructose (sugar) in a liquid form may impact liver metabolism.
Researchers recruited 94 healthy male volunteers, ages 18 to 30 years old, all with a body mass index under 24 kg/m2- to moderate weight. The researchers selected participants under a certain weight to decrease the odds of recruiting people who had possibly already developed increased liver fat content.
Using tracers (substances that can be followed as they move through the body), the researchers found the participants did not consume more calories than they did before the study. However, it was reported that even though the participants consumed the same number of calories, adding sugar-sweetened drinks and consuming fructose impacted their overall health, including an increase in fat production.
“This was still the case more than 12 hours after the last meal or sugar consumption,” said lead researcher Dr. Philipp Gerber of the University of Zurich in the study review.
The American Heart Association advises people to not consume more than 6% of their daily calories from added sugar. For example, most American women should consume only 100 calories (6 teaspoons or roughly 25 grams) of added sugar a day, and 150 calories (9 teaspoons, 36 grams) for men.
To put this into perspective, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the average American consumes 17 teaspoons a day, sometimes more. This is due to the fact that many of the processed foods we consume contain added sugars, and some of them are sneakier than others—like these 14 Sneaky Sources of Added Sugars. These can include anything from breakfast cereals and pre-packaged cheese to microwave meals and bottled beverages.
If you’re looking to keep your diet clean and your liver healthy, try looking at Diet Habits That Are Terrible for Your Liver, According to Science.