by Heidi Stevenson
In a shocking report that bodes ill for the future health of the generation now entering adulthood, ten percent of today’s teens in the United States suffers from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was examined by Marilyn Vos of Emery University. NHANES recorded data on 10,359 teenagers aged 12-18 from 1988-2008. Vos and co-researchers found that 9.9% have NAFLD.
Even more ominously, Vos stated that NAFLD “seems to be increasing faster than the prevalence of obesity.” Previously, the disease has been very closely associated with obesity. Now, though, it’s clear that there’s more than excess weight driving the increase in liver disease.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is known to be associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Now that we’re seeing this once-rare disorder affecting one in ten teenagers, one must wonder how health agencies like the FDA can continue to ignore the devastation resulting from out-of-control Agribusiness, which is clearly profiting from the devastation of the people’s health.
Instead, though, Dr. Vos is advocating the creation of community and school programs to promote healthy food, exercise, and weight loss. This is not addressing the root cause. It is, in fact, effectively blaming the victims for their poor health.
Difficulty Avoiding Fructose
The fact is that it’s becoming more and more difficult to obtain a healthy diet. Our society is now designed around the dictates of Agribusiness. Go into any supermarket and you will see aisle after aisle of prepared foods. If you read package ingredients, it’s horrifying to see that most of it contains massive amounts of sugar, fructose, and artificial sweeteners—not to mention all the other toxic ingredients.
Too many of today’s harassed and stressed parents often find it difficult, both in terms of finances and time, to provide decent diets for their children. Even those who manage to find the time and money to provide good food often don’t know what it is, since they’ve never seen it themselves and the agencies that should be providing information often produce lies. The FDA classes fructose as GRAS—generally recognized as safe.
As a result, HFCS and other forms of fructose are found in nearly every type of product on supermarket shelves, including ones that aren’t supposed to be sweet. It’s replacing sugar in candies and soft drinks, so children in particular are at risk. Avoiding it means avoiding nearly all prepared foods, including ones intended to aid in home cooking, like bottled sauces sauces.
Fructose is not metabolized in the same way that glucose (regular sugar) is, so treating it as equivalent is absurd:
Fructose is metabolized completely by the liver, but only 20% of glucose metabolism is by the liver. This adds to the load that the liver must carry.
Fructose results in storing three times more fat than glucose, thus fueling the obesity epidemic.
Fructose is probably the culprit behind a serious increase in gout because its metabolism creates uric acid.
The truth is that fructose consumed outside of fruit, where it’s tightly bound and therefore released slowly during digestion, is creating havoc with people’s health. It’s obviously a major factor in the health destruction of at least one in ten teens. These young people face severely shortened lives with tragically limited options because of ill health.
NAFLD affects the liver’s ability to perform many critical functions, including regulation of blood glucose and cholesterol, fat burning, metabolism of hormones, vitamin A storage, and elimination of toxins, which is of course, becoming a more and more critical function in this increasingly polluted world.
Fatty liver disease leads to diabetes, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancer. It also means that overall health of the entire body is harmed, so that the victim’s enjoyment of life is proscribed.
Nonetheless, there is no attempt to address the cause, Agribusiness that’s run so rampant it can control nearly all aspects of our access to food. Instead, researchers who clearly document how rampant NAFLD is—to the point that one-tenth of teens are now sick with it—prefer to focus on the creation of ever-more government programs that will drain ever-more money from the populace and won’t do a bit of good.