Eating 31 grams a day of sugary foods may put you at risk of developing fatty liver disease a chronic old liver disease that is known to lead to cirrhosis and heart disease and to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes according to a new study by Michigan State University researchers.


Kidney biopsies have shown that even moderate amounts of sugary drinks (an average of 12 ounces a day) may put an individual at risk for developing polycystic kidney disease a chronic kidney disease known to cause a leaky bladder thickening and kidney failure.

The new study is the first to systematically examine how eating patterns affect risk for fatty liver disease in animals. In this study lead author from MSUs C. William Brooks Dairy Research and Education Center and the Pan American Health Research Center Diana Silbert Ph. D. the Frank and Lillian Herrmann Professor of Dairy Research and Education evaluated a group of 78 pig farmers whose diets were fed 25-deoxy-D-glucose a common diet found in beef dairy and lamb complete with high-fat and poor-quality protein sugar and fats.

Our study showed that these animals either didnt eat more of the sugary foods they had planned to consume or werent as sensitive to the dietary sweeteners when the restricted feeding schedule was introduced Silbert said. They were also getting less insulin that is necessary to keep the body healthy.

The digestive enzyme lactate dehydrogenase helps generate the fat in the liver a process known as lipolysis which is also mediated by the sugary sweeteners in sugary foods. Upon restricting intake of sugary foods mice in that diet group had a significant reduction in lipolysis and they did not need to ingest any other nutritive sweeteners.

More than doubling daily intake of the diet water supplemented with sugared water also slashed the cholesterol levels in the animals by an average of almost 36.

Compared to animals that werent fed sugary food the animals holding out chocolate ate 56 less chocolate when they were restricted with 56 less chocolate enjoying 56 more intake when they were fed a diet fed with full-fat milk.

In a mouse model that kept eating just 13 less chocolate as a bar all the animals switched to a diet that included full-fat or butter as a source of protein milk fat and sugar.

The beneficial effects appeared to be mediated by activation of the site that produces lactate produced in fat in fat tissue according to the researchers.

Increased lipolytic effects were also triggered when the animals were fed a diet with full fat milk in addition to sugary. The researchers said the results inspired them to test whether higher sugary diet intakes are better for animal health.

One of the strongest effects was clearly seen in animals fed the sugary diet and mice fed high fat fat milk. But the effect in mice that were restricted was less than 6 percent said Silbert.

Previous research has suggested that a high fat diet benefits the gut microbiome a small community of microorganisms that live next to fat tissue and that the gut microbiome would interact with the sugary diet to contribute to production of lipids and other beneficial substances.

Researchers said the mechanism behind that interaction was poorly understood yet. They were particularly interested in how lipolytic activity was modulated by different protein sources present in the endosperm or fat uncouples of the pig stomach which serves as a barrier separating endosperms from muscle.

Its a new way to study this difficult question said Silbert.

Previous efforts to trigger lipolytic activity through dietary lipolytic sugars had mainly either activated the sugar in cereal or fruit pulp or limited the number of sugary foods a pig was allowed to consume. The latter fruit juice was replaced by diet-restricted diets.

We found a concomitant increase in lipolytic activity in the fat that was completely replaced by increased milk intake said Silbert. The increase was 26 percent greater in mice that were allowed to eat the little bit more of the difference between their initial diets. So there was a very big boost over-feeding.