How Too Much Sugar Can Cause Liver Damage

It is supposed to be eaten in moderation

Parties, festivals and family gatherings bring an opportunity to please our sweet tooth, but this comes with a cost.

Liver disease looms around the corner for those with a diet consisting of high-sugar meals. Satisfying the occasional urge for a treat doesn’t affect us much, but making it a part of our lifestyle can take a serious toll on our liver health.

With one out of five adults being diagnosed, liver diseases are common in India.

The liver functions as the prime metabolic processing centre in the body. It plays a crucial role in metabolising protein, fats, and carbohydrates including those coming from sugar.

How Sugar Becomes the Culprit

When a high dose of sugar is introduced to the liver it gets converted into fat. Over time, this fat gets accumulated in the liver, and results in a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Symptoms of NAFLD can progress to more severe forms, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. High sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, where cells in liver becomes less responsive to insulin and lead to type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes contributes prominently towards liver damage and accelerates liver degradation.

More side effects of high sugar intake:

A high sugar intake can lead to liver inflammation. There is evidence that inflammation in the liver damages liver cells and promotes the progression of liver diseases. Insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction in the liver can also be caused by chronic inflammation.

Excessive sugar consumption negatively impacts the gut microbiota, the trillions of beneficial bacteria that inhabit our digestive tract. When the gut microbiota is out of balance, called dysbiosis, certain bacterial metabolites can be produced that can damage the liver.

Consuming too much sugar can also increase oxidative stress, a condition where harmful molecules called free radicals are produced in excess and the body is not able to neutralize them.

The Solution

If sugars is the slow poison then a well balanced diet is the antidote. Eating nutritious food with macro and micro nutrients tailored to your needs can work wonder in recovering from fatty liver.

An average person in India consumes 10 teaspoons of sugar in a day, a high number, and capable of causing liver condition in due course of time.

Putting a halt to sugar-rich beverages like soft-drinks, energy-drinks and artificial juices can be your initial step for improving your liver health.

Carbohydrates, when eaten in excess can also spell disaster for the liver through a process called Hepatic lipogenesis, or the conversion of excess carbohydrates into fat in the liver.

Triglycerides are a type of fat that are produced when excess carbohydrates are consumed by the body in excess of what it needs for immediate energy. These triglycerides are then stored in the liver as fat droplets. This leads to the accumulation of fat in the liver, a condition known as hepatic steatosis or fatty liver. Carbohydrates can also contributes to liver damage by promoting insulin resistance.

Reducing carbohydrates in your diet can act as a tailwind for the improvement in liver health. Choosing the quality of carbohydrates over quantity matters the most – brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole wheat, barley, rye and legumes are some examples.

No Toxins, No Mess

Alcohol and tobacco can creates havoc for one’s liver. The spike in sugar levels after consuming alcohol can lead to excessive accumulation of fat in the liver.

A smoking habit is associated with impaired liver function, inflammation, and increased oxidative stress, which are contributing factors to the development of NAFLD.

All-in-all keeping alcohol and tobacco at bay would be an appropriate choice for the one’s looking towards improving their liver health.

Keeping Trouble at Bay

Blaming sugar may look like a relevant option, but making changes to your diet and lifestyle can do the trick.

Over 60% of food and beverages contains sugars, choosing what to eat and when lies in our own hands. Treating our body as a temple and consuming sugars occasionally can be the prominent solution to fight the growing pandemic of liver diseases.