A startling quarter of the U.S. population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by dietary sugar.
|Photo by Moyan Brenn.|
We know foods like donuts and soda can make you fat, but the effects of sugar on the liver and brain are less well-known. Dietary sugar can fry your liver in much the same way alcohol can. This in turn can hurt your brain, leaving you with dementia-like symptoms decades too soon.
Most people associate liver disease with alcohol abuse or hepatitis. But another type, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which barely existed three decades ago, has quickly become the most common liver disease in America. NAFLD isn’t caused by booze or a nasty virus, but dietary sugar, which causes a buildup of fat in your liver. Overweight people are likely candidates for NAFLD. Memory loss and diminished cognitive function are often the first symptoms, as the liver loses its ability to filter toxins that compromise the brain.
According to the American Liver Foundation, at least a quarter of the U.S. population now suffers from NAFLD, and that number is expected to swell to 40 percent by 2030, apace with an accompanying swelling of the American body, thanks to the insatiable American sweet tooth and the corporate interests that feed it. A study published March 25 further solidified the connection between sugar and NAFLD, finding that even moderate amounts of sugary drinkswill stimulate the production of enzymes that deposit fat in the liver.