You May Not Be Fat, But Your Liver Might Be
I currently work as a Hospitalist near Boston and I spend a lot of time admitting patients who require hospitalization through the emergency room. When working up patients for various medical problems they often undergo an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan as part of their workup. What surprises all of us who have been in medicine for years is that now nearly 100% of adult patients now appear to have fatty liver disease where their liver virtually fills up with fat. We are also seeing this condition in some children, something that was unheard of a few decades ago. Because your liver is your main detoxifying organ, you can imagine why you don’t want it full of fat.
We also see fatty liver disease in many adults who don’t seem particularly fat themselves. Years ago the most common cause of fatty liver disease was excessive alcohol intake. Today most people with too much fat in their liver have a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). When excessive fat causes inflammation in the liver leading to permanent damage called cirrhosis, the disease is called non-alcohol steatohepatitis (NASH).
We have known for years that NAFLD is associated with insulin resistance and central (beer belly) obesity. For some reason when your liver fills up with fat, the cells throughout your body no longer respond properly to insulin when you consume carbohydrates, leading to magnified glucose spikes. Insulin resistance is the first step down the road to adult onset or type II diabetes.
What other factors other than alcohol might cause your liver to accumulate too much fat? As it turns out it probably has nothing to do with eating too much fat. Recent research has pinned down the likely cause of excessive liver fat—too much fructose. Fructose is a simple sugar found in fruit, some vegetable and honey. Today we get most of our fructose from sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup, a liquid sweetener made from corn. As my friend Dr. Richard Johnson has shown in many research studies, if you consume more than 25 grams of fructose a day—the amount found in three apples, much of it is converted to triglycerides. Because fructose is mainly metabolized in the liver, when you consume too much fructose your liver begins to fill up with fat.
When NAFLD turns into NASH where the liver becomes inflamed and scarred, a liver transplant is the only option if the disease continues to progress. From 2002 to 2009 the incidence of liver transplants for NASH rose 5-fold. The reason for this dramatic increase in serious fatty liver disease is because of the huge burden of sugar and HFCS in our modern diet. Virtually every form of processed food now contains these toxic ingredients.
If you don’t care about your liver I suspect you care what happens to your brain. We now know that when you have insulin resistance with fatty liver disease and you consume high glycemic (rapidly absorbed) carbohydrates, especially from grains, your brain is subjected to magnified glucose spikes and over time these toxic glucose spikes trigger a chronic brain disorder called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome.
This site is dedicated to teaching you about how to identify, prevent and treat CARB syndrome. When you consume foods loaded with sugar, HFCS and high glycemic carbohydrates you end up frying both your liver and brain. The best way to protect both your liver and your brain is to eliminate sugar and HFCS from your diet and greatly decrease your consumption of high glycemic carbohydrates, especially from grains. Stay turned to learn about what happens to the other organs in your body when you eat this type of food.