High Sugar Intake Increases Risk for Heart and Liver Diseases

By Kurtis Chien

A study done by researchers at the University of Surrey found that diets high in sugar can lead to elevated fat content in blood and in the liver, which can put a person at risk for cardiovascular disease and liver disease. The study manipulated the amount of sugar in the diets of male participants over the course of 12 weeks. The participants had either high or low liver fat content prior to the study, although all participants were otherwise healthy. Some of the men were given a “low sugar diet,” which consisted of 140 sugar calories per day. Others were given a “high sugar diet,” and consumed 650 sugar calories per day.

After the dieting period, liver fat content was again measured. Men who had a high intake of sugar were found to have serious changes in fat metabolism, regardless of their previous condition. Those with previously low levels of liver fat and were put on the high sugar diet were found to have conditions resembling non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Those who already had high levels of liver fat before the high sugar diet were found to have such elevated levels of fat afterwards that they were at great risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, or strokes.

Researcher Bruce Griffin commented that the experimental high sugar diet would not be as commonly represented among the adult population. However, he warned that children who regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages or candy could easily surpass the high intake of sugar observed in the study. The overconsumption of sugar among the younger generation has brought about a concerning prevalence of fatty liver disease in that age bracket. Without targeted interventions, there may be grim implications for the heart and liver health of the population in the near future.


University of Surrey. "Too much sugar? Even 'healthy people' are at risk of developing heart disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171004202008.htm>.