Additive used in cakes, biscuits and ice cream is fueling a potentially fatal liver disease in children, new research warns.
Fructose, the most deadly form of sugar, is far more damaging to health than glucose.
The additive is triggering an early form of fatty liver disease in youngsters, a condition normally associated with alcoholics which can lead to cancer, strokes and heart problems, reports Daily Mail.
Dr Samir Softic, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, said: ‘The disease is much more worrisome in a child of thirteen who goes from normal liver to fatty liver to liver inflammation over the span of several years than in somebody who has been overweight for 30 years.
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‘Kids also eat more sugar than adults, so fructose may be even more of a risk factor in children, which would add to their years of poor health.’
High-fructose corn syrup is used in sweetened beverages and many other processed foods.
It is found naturally in fruit but manufacturers remove the fiber and nutrients to give an instant sugar rush.
Now experiments have found mice fed fructose suffered much worse metabolic effects than those given similar calories of glucose, the other component in table sugar.
In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation the animals were given either regular or high fat diets, and drank either plain water or water sweetened with fructose or glucose.
Over 10 weeks, none of the animals on a regular diet developed insulin resistance, a key factor in metabolic diseases such as diabetes, although those consuming either form of sugar gained substantially more weight.
Mice on the high-fat diet become much more obese and more insulin-resistant compared to their peers on the glucose diet.
Co-author Professor Ronald Kahn explained that comparing the diets ‘gave us a much more precise way of saying “what is the role of fructose versus glucose in the diet, and how bad is it when it’s added to a normal diet versus a diet high in fat?”‘
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