According to a recent research, restricting excessive consumption of added sugars may represent an early and important target by which non-alcoholic fatty liver disease risk can be reduced among children.
These days children are less active and less participative in outdoor activities. They only indulge in online gaming which is causing obesity and various health issues. The study, published recently in the journal Pediatric Obesity, indicated that NAFLD is associated with both a lack of exercise and excessive consumption of sucrose, the scientific name for table sugar, which is comprised of both fructose and glucose.
While both are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, dairy products and grains, they are often an additive to many processed foods, consumption of which have increased among children in recent times.
Researcher Johanna DiStefano, Professor at the al Genomics Research Institute (TGen) said that “The prevalence of the fatty liver disease is increasing not only in adults, but also in children,” Like Type-2 diabetes, NAFLD used to be considered a disease that developed only in adulthood, but that is no longer true.
Glucose, absorbed in the intestines, is the body’s preferred carbohydrate-based energy source. Fructose must first be converted by the liver into glucose before the body can use it for energy.
An earlier study, led by DiStefano, showed that fructose increased gene expression, altered proper cell function, and often led to liver disease.
For this study, the research team focused on studies that linked excessive fructose intake to children with NAFLD, interventions that restricted fructose, and identification of related metabolic biomarkers.
The reviewers indicate that additional studies are needed to understand both the short- and long-term effects of high fructose consumption and the development of NAFLD among children.
However, they suggest that “efforts to reduce global consumption of added sugars in the diet would most certainly yield a positive impact on overall health in youth due to its relative simplicity and focus on a single behavior.”
“By getting a better handle on diagnosis and disease severity, we will have a more individualized approach to management where some kids will respond well to diet and exercise while others may need a more aggressive intervention,” said researcher Gabriel Shaibi from the Arizona State University.