On the day after Halloween while your kids and mine are still suffering from a HFCS induced hangover, I’m going to be a buzzkill.  My kids will not be surprised.

Fatty liver disease fastest-growing reason for transplants in young U.S. adults

The shear amount of candy they collected in the neighborhood is insane. I suppose if I had gone to Krogers and bought this amount of candy, it would have been a small fortune.  But what are the long term effects of chronic sugar ingestion common in the Standard American Diet (which is very S.A.D.) let alone yesterday’s society induced binge begging holiday?

Fatty liver disease is a disorder where the liver simply fails to function normally due to being bombarded by a steady diet of carbohydrates.  One of the liver’s main roles is to create glucose, or blood sugar, out of almost nothing. It’s literally called gluconeogenesis (glucose-new-creation).  To describe how important this is, imagine if your lungs created all the oxygen your body needed to survive. Exploration of the ocean and of space would be so much easier.  That’s what your liver does with glucose. 

The liver produces so much glucose that you have no physiologic need to eat any glucose, or any carbohydrate, to survive.  In fact, for fructose, which is half the chemical structure of high fructose corn syrup, there is no essential metabolic reaction that requires fructose. You literally could never eat glucose or fructose and live a long, happy life.  In contrast, you may not survive six months without enough protein or twelve months without enough fat in your diet.

So what happens when we chronically eat too many carbohydrates?  Our liver continues to produce glucose but cannot deliver it anywhere.  It then, in an over-simplified explanation, tries to store it as fat (called a triglyceride) inside the liver. It starts to take up so much space it even becomes visible within the liver on ultrasounds and cat scans. 

With all this extra fat getting in the way do you think the liver functions normally?  No, of course not. The liver starts to become more and more irritated and eventually, cell by cell, it starts to die off. Fatty liver disease can progress to liver failure or cirrhosis. In the end stages the only viable treatment is a liver transplant. 

What can you do to save your child’s liver before it fails from all that Halloween candy and school snacks? Get out of the way and let it do its job.  Seriously, the single best thing you can do is cut out the excessive carbohydrates from their diet. Cut out all the liquid sweetened drinks.  Cut out all the Little Debbie snacks and treats. Cut back on other common carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, and corn.  Get the kids off the couch and on their bikes for a little exercise. What burns excess glucose better than active muscles?  Not much. 

And then comes the hardest part of prevention and treatment: Stop being a bad example.  Step up and change your diet to a low carb, high fat, whole food plan. If you don’t know how to do that. I’ll teach you. I had to learn myself and Trinity has spent the last 10 years building the area’s largest nutritional and wellness program which has already helped thousands of patients lose weight, reverse their metabolic disease, and preserve their organs.  VitalSigns Wellness is located in Hardin Valley at 2531 Willow Pointe Way. Their phone number is 865-249-7566. 

Call today to find out more. Trinity’s Direct Primary Care program helps members have better access to their doctors for more accountability and understanding about their health.  Our monthly memberships offer unlimited phone and email contact with office visits having no per visit fee. If you need to be seen five times in a month to get your blood sugar under control, we’ll do that at no extra cost.  Dr. Jackie Hone manages our Maryville office. She can be reached at 865-980-8551. I manage the Hardin Valley office and can be reached at 865-244-1800. Give us a call today to sign up.

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