Epidemiologic studies suggest a link between excess sugar consumption and obesity, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
One important pathway that may link these metabolic diseases to sugar consumption is hepatic conversion of sugar to fat, a process known as de novo lipogenesis (DNL). Mechanistic studies have shown that diets high in simple sugars increase both DNL and liver fat. Importantly, removal of sugar from diets of children with obesity for only 9 days consistently reduced DNL and liver fat and improved glucose and lipid metabolism.
Although the sugar and beverage industries continue to question the scientific evidence linking high-sugar diets to metabolic diseases, major health organizations now make evidence-based recommendations to limit consumption of simple sugars to no more than 5% to 10% of daily intake.
Clear recommendation about moderating sugar intake to patients may be an important nonpharmacologic tool to include in clinical practice.