Applied Food Science Journal

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High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) plays a dominant role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD-associated cirrhosis

Author(s): Selin Sahin and Metin Basaranoglu MD*

OBJECTIVE: The use of high fructose corn syrup in the food and beverage industry has shown an increase in the past few decades. Our aims were to evaluate the role of HFCS in inducing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and following conditions such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

METHODS: In this study, we browsed through the PubMed database by entering the keywords “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”, “fructose”, “fibrosis” and “cirrhosis”. We also included Basaranoglu’s previous extensive research studies on fructose, NAFLD and NASH.

RESULTS: The adverse effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in cirrhosis formation were demonstrated in animal studies. When mice were fed with excessive trans fat, they developed NASH, however cirrhosis formation was not observed. When the mice were fed a combination of trans fat and HFCS, cirrhosis formation was completed.

CONCLUSION: The increased consumption of fructose from food and beverages and the rising rates of obesity have shown a parallel increase. The prevalence of NAFLD, a condition that is associated with obesity, hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance has also shown a similar increase, which may progress to more severe forms such as cirrhosis. In conclusion, we have identified the excessive consumption of fructose in the form of HFCS as a key contributor to the development of cirrhosis.


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