Did you know about 10% of teenagers have liver disease. The figure would be unbelievable if it wasn’t substantiated with solid science. But, it’s true—an estimated one-in-ten teens in the United States has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD; this according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
The NHANES looked at over 10,300 teens between the ages of 12 and 18 from 1998 to 2008, and found that 9.9% suffer from the disease commonly only thought of as an adult disease, and a rare one at that.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has always been associated with obesity, and as we see a growing number of kids who are obese, it would make sense that we would see a growing number with liver disease. But, scientist Marilyn Vos, of Emery University, says the NHANES found incidents of NAFLD among teens to actually be growing faster than teen obesity rates. This is truly cause for alarm.
The Cause of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
So, what’s causing the liver disease? All evidence points to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose seriously taxes the liver, where it is completely metabolized. For perspective: only 20% of glucose, on the other hand, is metabolized in the liver. According to GreenMedInfo.com, fructose also results in storing three times more fat than glucose, making kids fatter to boot.
But isn’t fructose a natural fruit sugar? Yes it is, but when it is present in fruits or vegetables, in its natural state, it is released slowly for optimal digestion. In HFCS, on the other hand, it is delivered to the digestive system in one quick-acting dose.
So, what does this growing prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in teens mean? It means children are consuming too much high fructose corn syrup. We are destroying their bodies with packaged and over-processed foods. In the name of convenience—we are killing the youth. Needless to say, it is extremely important know of the many foods with high fructose corn syrup so that they can be avoided.
Fatty liver disease can lead to diabetes, hepatitis, cancer, and cirrhosis. A diseased liver affects the body’s ability to digest food, metabolize hormones, regulate blood sugar, eliminate toxins, and store vitamin A.
As we live in a system where the almighty dollar is king, feeding the children nutritious food is difficult. Not only are they tempted at every turn, but access to truly healthful selections is very limited. If it isn’t in its completely natural state, it likely has some very questionable ingredients.
And who is to blame for this? A combination of parties, but giant agribusiness, including the corn industry, certainly holds more than their fair share of the responsibility.