Why excess sugar, oil are as dangerous for liver as alcohol

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS): While alcohol is known to be bad for liver health, consuming foods rich in sugar and oil may be equally dangerous for the organ as well as for overall health, said doctors on Thursday, ahead of World Liver Day.

World Liver Day is observed on April 19 every year to highlight the importance of a healthy liver for the normal functioning of the body. The theme this year is 'Be vigilant, get regular liver check-ups, and prevent fatty liver diseases'.

The liver acts as the body's warehouse, processing everything one consumes. Eating more calories can accumulate in the liver, leading to fatty liver disease, which can trigger diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

“While the dangers of alcohol-related liver disease are well-known, there is a rising concern over non-alcoholic liver disease caused by high-calorie foods, such as sugars and fats. This condition can lead to the same severe complications as alcoholic liver disease, including liver cirrhosis, which might eventually require a liver transplant," Dr Shreevidya, Medical Director, Apollo ProHealth, told IANS.

"Excess sugar and oil intake, like alcohol, give rise to fat droplets scattered through the liver tissue leading to a cascade of liver injury due to inflammation leading to liver failure,” explained Dr Pavan Dhoble, Junior Consultant - Gastroenterology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim.

Excess sugar and oil intake fuels obesity leading to adverse liver health, including non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD).

Data shows nearly one out of every four Indian adults are either overweight or obese (at risk of fatty liver disease) and alcohol use is also on the rise.

A study conducted by AIIMS, analysing reports on NAFLD in India, revealed a startling reality: over one-third (38 per cent) of Indians have fatty liver or NAFLD. This phenomenon extends to affect nearly 35 per cent of children as well, as per the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology and calls for attention to addressing lifestyle-related health issues from an early age.

"Liver diseases have emerged as critical public health concerns in India. NAFLD often remains unrecognised in its early stages as it may not manifest symptoms. However, it can progress to severe liver diseases," Dr Rahul Roy, Consultant - Liver Transplant and Hepatopancreatic Biliary Surgery, RN Tagore Hospital and Narayana Hospital, Howrah told IANS.

"The westernisation of diets, characterised by increased fast food consumption and a lack of fruits and vegetables, plays a pivotal role in the rise of fatty liver diseases," he added.




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