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Relevance of liver fat to the impact of dietary extrinsic sugars on lipid metabolism

Griffin, B. A.
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2015 v.74 no.3 pp. 208-214
adipose tissue, adolescents, adults, adverse effects, alcohol drinking, chronic diseases, death, energy, hyperlipidemia, lipid metabolism, liver, liver diseases, men, mortality, obesity, risk factors, sugars, women, United Kingdom
In contrast to the decline in mortality from many non-infectious, chronic diseases in the UK, death from liver disease has increased exponentially in men and women over the past 40 years. This is primarily because of the over consumption of alcohol, but also the increased prevalence of obesity, which is linked to early pathology through the accumulation of liver fat. Supra-physiological intakes of fructose-containing sugar can produce acute, adverse effects on lipid metabolism, and deliver excess energy that increases bodyweight and the deposition of fat in sites other than adipose tissue, including the liver. This review addresses the variable metabolic origins of liver fat, and the key importance of postprandial lipid metabolism in this respect. The effects of supra-physiological intakes of sugar are also considered in context of the real world and established threshold for the adverse effects of sugar on cardio-metabolic risk factors. The review concludes that while the average intake of sugar in the UK falls well below this critical threshold, intakes in subgroups of adults, and especially adolescents, may be cause for concern. There is also evidence to suggest that raised liver fat, acquired, in part, through an impaired removal of postprandial lipaemia, can increase sensitivity to the adverse effects of sugar at all ages.