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A study has found that a diet that was low in fat and cholesterol is not enough to improve liver function or reduce liver damage. What is the missing link? SUGAR.

The study says: “Liver damage caused by the typical “Western diet” — one high in fat, sugar and cholesterol that’s common in developed countries such as the United States — may be difficult to reverse even if diet is generally improved, a new study shows.”

According to the article, “This study, done with laboratory animals, showed that diets low in fat and cholesterol could in fact aid with weight loss, improved metabolism and health. But even then, if the diet was still high in sugar there was much less liver recovery, the scientists concluded.

The findings are significant, scientists say, because liver problems such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are surging in the U.S., affecting 10-35 percent of adults and an increasing number of children. The incidence of this problem can reach more than 60 percent in obese and type-2 diabetic populations.

‘Many people eating a common American diet are developing extensive hepatic fibrosis, or scarring of their liver, which can reduce its capacity to function, and sometimes lead to cancer,’ said Donald Jump, a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute, and corresponding author on this research.

‘There’s a lot of interest in finding ways to help the liver recover from this damage, but this research suggests that diets lower in fat and cholesterol, even if they help you lose weight, are not enough,” Jump said. “For more significant liver recovery, the intake of sugar has to come down, probably along with other improvements in diet and exercise.'”

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Oregon State University. “Liver recovery difficult even with improved diet, but faster if sugar intake is low.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2016. <>.