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Adding sugar to a high fat diet may be an added killer

Lab rats
Lab rats
Morguefile/Free photo

There has been a growing awareness of the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes associated with poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. New research shows that adding sugar to a high-fat Western diet could be worse than a high-fat diet alone reported Wiley on June 27, 2014. According to new research a high-fructose, high-fat diet can cause harmful effects to the livers of adult rats.

This research offers new insight into the effects of adding fructose to a Western diet which is high in fat. It was found in this study that short-term consumption of a Western diet which is rich in saturated fats and fructose is more damaging for healthy liver development than simply adhering to a high fat diet alone. Dr Susanna Iossa, who led the study at the University of Naples, Italy, has said the finding from this research highlights the harmful effect of adding fructose to the usual western, high-fat diet. Dr Iossa feels this along with other related findings should stimulate the discussion on the use of fructose and fructose-containing sweeteners in beverages and in packaged foods.

This study was performed with an animal model of adult sedentary humans which consisted of adult rats. The rats were fed for two weeks with either a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet or a diet which was rich in fat and fructose. This latter diet is noted to be very much like the diet which is consumed by the large majority of the Western population. The researchers evaluated liver function in the rats after the diet period. They found that the presence of fructose in the high-fat diet exacerbated the impairment of the liver by increasing the build-up of fat in the liver and by lowering liver insulin sensitivity.

This study has been published in the journal Experimental Physiology. The objective of this study was to examine what the short term effects are of high fat or high fat‐high fructose diet on the hepatic lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function of adult sedentary rats. There were a myriad of deleterious effects noted on the livers of the rats fed the high fat‐high fructose diet for 2 weeks. It was concluded short term consumption of a western diet which is rich in saturated fats and fructose has more of a deleterious effect for liver steatosis development and glucose homeostasis than a high fat diet alone. It would therefore appear wise to work on keeping fructose and saturated fats low in your diet while getting plenty of exercise.