Sugar-heavy drinks may cause fatty liver disease
The key to preventing fatty liver disease, the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, may lie in avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks.
Researchers have found that blocking a path that delivers dietary fructose (fruit sugar) to the liver prevented mice from developing the condition.
A molecule called GLUT8 carries large amounts of fructose, which is present naturally in fruit and is added to soft drinks and myriad other products, into liver cells.
Blocking or eliminating GLUT8 in mice reduced the amount of fructose entering the organ and appeared to prevent the development of fatty liver.
Mice with GLUT8 deficiency also appeared to burn liver fat at a faster rate.
“We showed that GLUT8 is required for fructose to get into the liver,” said Brian DeBosch from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, US.
“If you take away or block this transporter in mice, they no longer get diet-induced fatty liver disease,” he added.
“If the fructose does not go into the liver, it may go to peripheral tissues,” DeBosch noted.
The study appeared in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Image: Getty Images