April 22, 2011
Cut Carbs To Cut Liver Fat

Another reason to eat a more paleo diet:

DALLAS – April 19, 2011 – Curbing carbohydrates is more effective than cutting calories for individuals who want to quickly reduce the amount of fat in their liver, report UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

"What this study tells us is that if your doctor says that you need to reduce the amount of fat in your liver, you can do something within a month," said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author.

The results, available online and in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, could have implications for treating numerous diseases including diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. The disease, characterized by high levels of triglycerides in the liver, affects as many as one-third of American adults. It can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

While a high percentage of obese people develop fatty liver disease and fatty liver disease is associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity the arrows of causation are not easily discerned. One might expect obesity causes metabolic syndrome. But it could be that only when fat cells exceed their capacity to store lipids do lipids get deposited in the liver and other places where they cause metabolic syndrome and diseases. Still, if you aren't obese the odds of getting excess fat in the liver and metabolic syndrome are lower.

Since fried foods seem to boost the risk of metabolic syndrome it could be the omega 6 fatty acids in the vegetable oil used for frying is causing inflammation that leads to metabolic syndrome.

Aerobic exercise can help against fatty liver disease too.

BTW, I've been pouring more olive oil on my lunches to cut my desire for carbohydrates. Seems to be working.

Update: Read the Gary Taubes article in the NY Times Magazine “Is Sugar Toxic?”. Also, see my post on fructose as a possible cause of high blood pressue and watch the video of UCSF medical school prof Robert Lustic about why fructose is the most dangerous type of sugar.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 April 22 02:05 PM  Aging Diet Metabolism

Mike said at April 24, 2011 12:16 PM:

I'm always reading content here, but this is the first time I've commented -- much for the same reason I just started my own forum (it's new, almost empty and pretty crappy right now: fructoseforum.com). I did it the day after watching a life-changing video on youtube by Robert Lustig about the way we metabolize fructose.
It would seem from what I've learned so far that it isn't carbs exactly that are causing health issues related to this post, but specifically fructose. Table sugar is half fructose and high fructose corn syrup is in literally all processed foods.
I highly, highly recommend watching the vid. As new info comes in, I'll post it. I'm also going to embark on a fructose-free diet and chart the progress for all to see (and I'm the poster child for fructose poisoning).
Fascinating stuff, and yet another example of what profit-motivation is doing to us.

jr said at April 27, 2011 10:20 AM:

I was diagnosed with NASH in Jan 2011. After a visit to the gastroenterologist we started a med regimen and diet. severely cut fat and cholesterol intake and reduced carbs. So far so good, numbers are going down and Dr is encouraged. Diet has added effect of helping me lose nearly 23 lbs. Best of luck to all who are fighting fatty liver.

Rob said at April 27, 2011 10:48 AM:

I'll accept the profit motivation. Once again people confuse free market capitalism and crony capitalism. There are reasons why there are so many products using corn syrup. They all trace back to governemnt interference in the market.

J said at April 27, 2011 1:10 PM:

"Fascinating stuff, and yet another example of what profit-motivation is doing to us"

Unless you're a subsistence farmer, the food you eat exists because of profit motive. This yet another example of what market distorting government subsidies (about $4B/yr) are doing to us. Food producers use corn syrup because it's cheaper than sugar. It doesn't have to be.

Bill Johnson said at April 27, 2011 2:44 PM:

Mike, youre' delusional. Table sugar is sucrose - at least in my world. What's your world?

But I abhor corn syrup. don't touch it. Nope, keep that shxt outta my house. Sucrose is fine. Fructose is fine - in the fruit. And never, never, never touch any sugar substitute.

Also, butter. Eat the real thing. It's good for you. Margarine? Well, we found out, didn't we?

JeanE said at April 27, 2011 4:19 PM:

Sorry Bill, Mike is right about sucrose. Glucose and fructose are both monosaccharides. Sucrose is a disaccharide (2 sugar molecules) composed of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule linked together, so it is approximately 1/2 fructose.

bud said at April 27, 2011 5:29 PM:

Doesn't anyone in the Southwest Medical Center check "Animal Abuse" websites, or even Wikipedia?

Take a look at how pate' de foie gras is created.

Loading up on carbs produces fatty liver? Who knew?

AA said at April 27, 2011 7:20 PM:

Atkin's followers have known this for years. See also Dr. Bernstein: http://www.diabetes-book.com/

Keep eating carbs and the sugar will do its damage. Insidiously, over years, including glycation, will lead to
a myriad of diseases, not the least Type 2, and organ damage.

Sugar is a killer. Steak not cake!
Eat more fat. (without carbs) Body knows what to do with it, and it will keep you fully satisfied.

acm said at April 28, 2011 6:47 AM:

The real high-fructose foods are things like berries and few other fruits (e.g., plums, peaches, cherries). Is the claim now that these are the real health risk? Sounds pretty fishy to me. Seems like glucose has to be part of the problem if carbs are.

LZ said at April 28, 2011 11:05 AM:

The difference between fruits, esp berries, and HFCS, particularly in liquid form, is that the fructose in fruit is bound up in fiber. You are likely to eat less fructose in berries, or if you ate the same equivalent amount of fructose, it would take you longer. Add to that the processing time in your stomach to unbind fiber and fructose, and the impact on your liver is much less dramatic. Lustig indicates that fructose in HFCS and sucrose is the biggest problem. Gary Taubes extends that to say if your insulin response is destroyed by excess sugar, whether HFCS or sucrose, you will have increasingly less tolerance for ALL carbs. I certainly have found that to be the case for me.

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