Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in adults and children. A number of genetic and environmental factors are known to predispose individuals to NAFLD. Certain dietary sugars, particularly fructose, are suspected to contribute to the development of NAFLD and its progression. The increasing quantity of fructose in the diet comes from sugar additives (most commonly sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) in beverages and processed foods. Substantial links have been demonstrated between increased fructose consumption and obesity, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance. Growing evidence suggests that fructose contributes to the development and severity of NAFLD. In human studies, fructose is associated with increasing hepatic fat, inflammation, and possibly fibrosis. Whether fructose alone can cause NAFLD or if it serves only as a contributor when consumed excessively in the setting of insulin resistance, positive energy balance, and sedentary lifestyle is unknown. Sufficient evidence exists to support clinical recommendations that fructose intake be limited through decreasing foods and drinks high in added (fructose-containing) sugars.
Copyright © 2013 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.