Thursday, March 18, 2010

Duke study links high fructose corn syrup with liver damage

The corn industry is facing a new challenge over the health risks posed by high fructose corn syrup. A new study out of the Duke University Medical Center indicates that high consumption of the controversial sugar substitute is associated with liver scarring or fibrosis, similar to the damage caused by heavy consumption of alcohol.

Dr. Manal Abdelmalek, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, says a study of 427 adults who suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, indicated that those who consumed more high-fructose corn syrup were more likely to have increased liver scarring or fibrosis.

NAFLD, which is present in about 30 percent of all adults, is a condition in which fat accumulates in the cells of the liver, which could lead to inflammation or scarring, also known as fibrosis. The damage is similar to that caused by heavy consumption of alcohol, but NAFLD occurs in people who are not alcoholics.

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