Let’s talk about fatty liver disease and fructose.

Let’s start with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It happens when a person consumes little to no alcohol and they still have a fatty liver. So, fat accumulates within their liver cells. This affects about a quarter of the population. So fatty liver disease leads to liver inflammation and over time this inflammation can lead to scarring of the liver and if that continues, that can eventually lead to liver failure. The challenge is that there is typically no signs or symptoms of fatty liver disease. Some people may experience fatigue, or pain or discomfort in the upper right quadrant.

Fatty liver disease is often linked to metabolic syndrome, being obese or overweight, being insulin resistant or having high blood sugars which can be pre-diabetic or have type II diabetes.

What the research is showing is that consuming fructose, specifically high fructose corn syrup can lead to fat accumulation in the liver. This is due to increased lipogenesis and impaired fat oxidation. The research shows that as fructose is metabolized by fructokinase, ATP consumption, nucleotide turnover and an increase in uric acid and overall this leads to an accumulation of fat in the liver.

Therefore in order to treat or prevent fatty liver disease, we need to decrease our consumption of fructose, specifically high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is in candy, pop/soda, packaged foods. We want to be decreasing or avoiding high fructose corn syrup.


Jenson T et al. (2018). Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 68 (5): 1063-1075.