Naturopathic Med

the natural solution

Providing natural medicine alternatives to Eastern Washington, Naturopathic Med provides individualized care that works. Specializing in hormone imbalances, fatigue, and GI problems. 

Fatty Liver part 2

In my last post I discussed the issues surrounding fatty liver disease. I'd like to delve a little deeper into that discussion and explain how a common ingredient in our food supply is wreaking havoc on our health.

As I mentioned previously, the main cause of fatty liver disease is a diet high in refined carbs and sugar. While this is true, I neglected to mention probably the biggest culprit, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose is a sugar molecule found naturally in... fruit. It was widely promoted as a diabetic and blood sugar friendly sweetener because it didn't raise blood sugar as much as sucrose. Unfortunately this has been bad advice and the food industry has done us all a disservice by loading up the food supply with this insidious substance.

Fructose and especially high-fructose corn syrup is especially deft at raising blood triglyceride levels. This is fat in the blood. Our cells run primarily on glucose. Fructose must be converted to be used as energy in the body. This conversion happens in the liver and as you might imagine requires a host of micronutrients. Fructose is most easily converted to fat. We can burn fat for energy, but with a diet already plentiful in carbohydrate and glucose there is little need to utilize fat or fructose for energy. Therefore the body is constantly making fat from the all the ingested fructose. The consequences are weighty... literally!

High-fructose corn syrup is perhaps the main contributer to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, and certainly contributes to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The cluster of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome is therefore also closely associated with the high refined sugar/carb diet. Metabolic syndrome or syndrome x is the combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol (LDL), and excess abdominal fat. Fructose promotes weight gain even more by suppressing our satiety mechanisms. It literally decreases the signaling in the brain to tell you you've had enough to eat.

It's been my observation that many of us underestimate our intake of sugar. I've had many patients tell me they don't use sugar. In reality they are consuming a large amount, including high-fructose corn syrup. Why the oversight? To cut you some slack, sugar is easily hidden throughout the food supply, at least to those who don't read ingredient labels. Sugar or HFCS is added to everything from yogurt to bread. It's in your spaghetti sauce and whole grain cereals. Even things like apple sauce or MacDonald's "real fruit" smoothies have added sugar. A common ploy is to use concentrated fruit juice, which of course is sugar.

So what about fruit? It has sugar and depending on type can have a fair amount of fructose. Here is the difference between man-made adulterated foods and naturally grown foods on God's green Earth. Sugar in fresh fruit is in a matrix of enzymes and nutrients. God has place within the apple all the co-factors for our bodies to extract the energy and nutrition. Any alteration leads to degradation in nutrient quality. While a little fresh apple juice is fine, though I always recommend diluting all juice with 50% water, sugar without the fiber can cause problems.

If, like most of us, you've had years of processed and sugar-laden foods, you'd do well to do some serious liver restoration. I recommend a 21-day Purification program (see the home page of my web site or read here) to jump start your body back to good health.

Sugar is one of the main issues affecting liver health, but I haven't even discussed the toxic load we all encounter from prescription and OTC medications, toxins in our food, air, and water, and normal metabolic burdens our bodies face every day. If you feel like your "health balance" has tipped in the wrong direction, now is the time to take action to be healthier. Don't put it off.

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