October 4, 2017
University of Surrey
people who consume high levels of sugar are at an increased risk of developing
Healthy people who
consume high levels of sugar are at an increased risk of developing
A ground-breaking study
from the University of Surrey found that a subject group of otherwise healthy
men had increased levels of fat in their blood and fat stored in their livers
after they had consumed a high sugar diet.
The study, which has been
published in Clinical Science, looked at two groups of men with either
high or low levels of liver fat, and fed them a high or low sugar diet to find
out if the amount of liver fat influences the impact of sugar on their
cardiovascular health. The low sugar diet contained no more than 140 calories a
day worth of sugar — an amount close to the recommended intake — while the
high sugar diet contained 650 calories worth.
After 12 weeks on the
high sugar diet, the men with a high level of liver fat — a condition known as
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — showed changes in their fat
metabolism that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular
disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Fat metabolism is the
biochemical process by which fats are transported and broken down in the blood,
and used by the cells of the body.
The results also revealed
that when the group of healthy men with a low level of liver fat consumed a
high amount of sugar, their liver fat increased and their fat metabolism became
similar to that of the men with NAFLD.
Professor of Nutritional
Metabolism, Bruce Griffin, said: “Our findings provide new evidence that
consuming high amounts of sugar can alter your fat metabolism in ways that
could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
“While most adults
don’t consume the high levels of sugar we used in this study, some children and
teenagers may reach these levels of sugar intake by over-consuming fizzy drinks
and sweets. This raises concern for the future health of the younger
population, especially in view of the alarmingly high prevalence of NAFLD in
children and teenagers, and exponential rise of fatal liver disease in
1. A. Margot Umpleby, Fariba
Shojaee-Moradie, Barbara Fielding, Xuefei Li, Andrea Marino, Najlaa Alsini,
Cheryl Isherwood, Nicola Jackson, Aryati Ahmad, Michael Stolinski, Julie Anne
Lovegrove, Sigurd Johnsen, Jeewaka Mendis, John Wright, Malgorzata E Wilinska,
Roman Hovorka, Jimmy Bell, Louise E Thomas, Gary Frost, Bruce Arthur Griffin. Impact
of liver fat on the differential partitioning of hepatic triacylglycerol into
VLDL subclasses on high and low sugar diets. Clinical Science, 2017;
CS20171208 DOI: 10.1042/CS20171208