In the study, a team of U.S. researchers focused on reducing dietary free sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. These sugars are added to foods or beverages or they naturally occur in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit juices. These sugars are known to increase the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and NAFLD is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The research team wanted to determine the effects of a diet low in free sugars in teenage boys with NAFLD. To do this, they recruited 40 boys aged 11 to 16 years old with NAFLD. Then, they randomly assigned the participants to either the treatment group or the control group. Participants in the treatment group adhered to a diet low in free sugars, or restricting their free sugar intake to less than three percent of their daily caloric intake, for eight weeks. On the other hand, those in the control group retained their normal diet. In addition, the research team called all the participants twice a week to assess their adherence to their respective diets. (Related: Too young for such an “old” condition: 8-year-olds now being diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.)
The results revealed that participants who were on the low-sugar diet experienced a reduction in liver fat. The fat in their liver declined from 25 percent to 17 percent. On the other hand, those who retained their regular diet only had a reduction from 21 percent to 20 percent. In addition, the U.S. researchers found that the former had high adherence to the low-sugar diet. There were also no adverse events observed among the participants in both groups.
"Our results show that if a child with NAFLD consumes a very low amount of sugars in their diet, both fat and inflammation in the liver improves," said study's senior author Dr. Miriam Vos, of Emory University School of Medicine.
Vos and the rest of the team also suggested future studies to assess the long-term effects of sugar reduction on NAFLD biomarkers and to look at other implications that low-sugar diets could have for children in clinical practice. The research team published their results in JAMA Network.
Here are some tips on reducing your sugar intake:
Stay away from the dangers of sugar. Visit Sweeteners.news to learn more.