In a study published in PLOS One conducted by Oregon State University, reducing your sugar intake can help the already difficult task of helping your liver recover. Liver issues can cause cirrhosis and even cancer. The 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 if there was still too much sugar intake the improvement of the liver was limited.

The researchers noted that the common American diet has been causing scarring in the liver, which makes it not work as well, potentially leading to cancer. “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,” one researcher said. “For more significant liver recovery, the intake of sugar has to come down, probably along with other improvements in diet and exercise.”

This is a serious issue because, according to the study, complications related to liver inflammation, scarring and damage are projected to be the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020.

The study was done on lab mice and, while all healthier diets lost weight and became healthier, the diet that was still high in sugar saw significantly higher levels of inflammation, oxidative stress and liver fibrosis.

For more information, read the full study.

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