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If you think you're the picture of good health, you might want to take a good hard look at your sugar intake. A new study shows that people who eat a diet high in sugar—even if they are otherwise healthy—had have increased levels of fat in their blood and livers, which puts them at risk for disease.
This groundbreaking study was conducted at the University of Surrey and was published in the journal Clinical Science. The researchers followed two groups of men—with high or low levels of liver fat—for 12 weeks. High levels of liver fat is also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Then, they put them on a high-sugar or low-sugar diet to see if the amount of fat stored in their liver would influence the consequences of sugar on cardiovascular (CV) health.
The men with NAFLD had changes in their fat metabolism that have been linked to CV disease, heart attacks, and strokes. This wasn't necessarily surprising. What was shocking to researchers was that the otherwise healthy men (those who had low liver fat at the beginning of the study) who consumed a high amount of sugar ended up with increased liver fat and changes in fat metabolism just like the men with NAFLD.
In other words: Eating high amounts of sugar can alter your fat metabolism and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease—no matter how healthy you are. This is one more reason to believe that heart disease has less to do with consuming fat or cholesterol and more to do with other aspects of the standard American diet, like inflammation and sugar.