A new study has shown the severe repercussions of high-fat food combined with sugar-sweetened high fructose corn syrup diet and a sedentary lifestyle, on liver and other vital organs.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Brent Tetri at Saint Louis University.
As part of the study, researchers examined mice for 16 weeks to see the effects of a diet that was 40 percent fat and replete with high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener common in soda and some fruit juices.
The mice were not forced to eat, rather, they were able to eat whenever and whatever they wanted.
Researchers found that fructose actually suppressed the fullness, unlike fiber-rich foods, which make one feel full quickly.
"We had a feeling we'd see evidence of fatty liver disease by the end of the study. But we were surprised to find how severe the damage was and how quickly it occurred. It took only four weeks for liver enzymes to increase and for glucose intolerance - the beginning of type II diabetes - to begin," Tetri said.
"We wanted to mirror the kind of diet many Americans subsist on, so the high fat content is about the same you'd find in a typical McDonald's meal, and the high fructose corn syrup translates to about eight cans of soda a day in a human diet, which is not far off with what some people consume, which can lead to cirrhosis and, ultimately, death. But we were also keeping the mice sedentary, with a very limited amount of activity," he said.
"A high-fat and sugar-sweetened diet compounded by a sedentary lifestyle will have severe repercussions for your liver and other vital organs. Fatty liver disease now affects about one of every eight children in this country. The good news is that it is somewhat reversible - but for some it will take major changes in diet and lifestyle," he added.
The findings of the study were presented at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting in Washington, D.C.