(NaturalNews) Today, more young people than ever are suffering from a chronic illness -- the cause of which has everything to do with eating a toxic diet -- that used to occur primarily only among older adults with diabetes. Figures recently compiled as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveal that roughly 10 percent of American teens are now afflicted with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a potentially deadly condition marked by chronic liver inflammation.
For their study, fatty liver disease expert Dr. Miriam Vos of Emory University's School of Medicine and her colleagues reviewed data on more than 10,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 that spanned from 1998 to 2008. What they found is that that rates of NAFLD among this age group nearly tripled during the 10-year period, outpacing even the simultaneous rapid rise in obesity rates.
In fact, Dr. Vos made the stunning statement regarding her team's findings that NAFLD "seems to be increasing faster than the prevalence of obesity," which somewhat contradicts the widely-held theory that the two conditions automatically go hand in hand. To the contrary, there appears to be some other factor contributing to the more rapid rise in NAFLD cases that may not necessarily be a direct cause of obesity, but rather a corresponding symptom.
Toxic food supply fueling rise in obesity, NAFLD
In a piece written for GreenMedInfo.com, writer Heidi Stevenson explains how heavy consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the conventional food supply is wreaking havoc on children's systems. And since the liver bears the heaviest load in processing fructose, it makes sense that a growing number of children in modern society are suddenly suffering from severe liver problems.
Dr. Vos and her team, of course, make no mention of the connection between HFCS consumption and increases in NAFLD. But this is one of the most obvious connections in light of the research, as fructose is metabolized completely by the liver. Glucose, on the other hand, which was used more prevalently before the advent of HFCS, is only partially processed by the liver at about a 20 percent rate, which means it is less of an overall burden on the body.
Similarly, processed fructose causes three times more fat storage than glucose, which would also explain the connection between NAFLD and obesity. No matter how you look at it, eating processed fructose and other fructose components apart from whole fruit takes a heavy toll on the livers of those that consume it. And the rapid rise in NAFLD among young people illustrates how this fructose epidemic is destroying the health of America.
"Given the concurrent rise in fructose consumption and metabolic diseases, we need to fully understand the impact of a high-fructose diet on liver function and liver disease," said Dr. Manal Abdelmalek from the Duke University Medical Center about a pilot study he also recently conducted that linked fructose consumption to NAFLD.
"[It is] 'plausible that habitual and/or excessive fructose consumption' might increase the risk of NAFLD and also exacerbate liver injury and promote fibrosis," Dr. Abdelmalek and his colleagues are quoted as writing about the study by Medpage Today.