The U.S. obesity epidemic has brought increased attention to nonalcoholic fatty
liver disease (NAFLD), a major health problem that is caused by excessive calorie
intake, especially in the form of the fructose in added sugars. The 2004 American
documentary film, Super Size Me, followed Morgan Spurlock for a 30-day period
during which he ate only fast food and consumed an average of 5,000 calories per
day. Spurlock gained 24 pounds, his cholesterol increased to 230 mg/dL, he experienced
mood swings, and he developed a fatty liver. In a similar small study,
healthy volunteers also developed signs of fatty liver after doubling their caloric
intake to gain weight by eating at least two fast-food-based meals per day for four
weeks. At the end of the four weeks, the researchers reported:
• The fast-food consumers had gained an average of 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs.).
• Their liver enzymes rose to levels indicating liver damage in 11 of the 18

According to a Swedish study, being overweight as a teenager may increase the risk
of liver disease later in life. At an average follow-up time of 29 years, compared
with men with a normal BMI (18.5 to 22.5), those with a slightly elevated BMI
(22.5 to 25) had a 17% greater risk of severe liver disease, those who were overweight
(BMI 25 to 30) had a 49% increased risk, and those who were obese with a
BMI of 30 or greater had a 2.17 times increase in risk. Men with obesity who developed
diabetes had a 3.28 times higher risk of severe liver disease. The investigators
concluded that a high BMI in late adolescent men was associated with an increased
risk of future severe liver disease, including liver cancer, and that diabetes further
increased the risk.

In the past two decades, the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
has doubled and is now found to occur among 10% of U.S. children and 20% of
adults. In about 10% to 20% of cases, the fat accumulation leads to inflammation,
sometimes to scarring similar to the cirrhosis caused by chronic alcoholism, and at
times, to liver failure. About 2% to 3% of U.S. adults, at least five million Americans,
have a more serious form of fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
(NASH), that in 15% to 20% of cases leads to cirrhosis. NASH is the fastest growing
health condition necessitating liver transplants. If caught early, fatty liver is reversible
by weight loss, increased exercise, elimination of alcohol, and minimizing
added sources of fructose in the diet such as sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose
corn syrup.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel