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A young mom who consumed 15-20 Red Bull cans on a daily basis for about 4 years, suffered from liver damage that was so intense that doctors thought that she has problems with alcohol.
Red Bull contains significant amount of sugar and caffeine, so Mary Allwood practically drank caffeine from 16 cups of coffee and sugar from 17 Mars bars a day. This 26 years old mother kept Red Bull cans all over her house and spent more than 2000 pounds on this energy drink.
However, about 10 months ago, an ambulance had to transport her to the hospital because she experienced sharp pain on the left side of her body and thanks to a MRI scan the doctors determined that the size of her liver has doubled.
When they saw the results, they thought that she is an alcoholic, but they were surprised to hear that Mary confirmed that she might have a problem with energy drinks. Energy drinks are packed with sugar and they can trigger fat accumulation in the liver which ultimately leads to scarring.
About five months ago, Mary stopped drinking energy drinks and a test conducted ten days ago has shown that her liver is now working normally.
Mary, the resident of Brixham, Devon, UK and mother of a small kid explained that she felt that she needed energy drinks all the time and she was not worried about her health. In case she missed drinking an energy drink she felt moody and miserable, so she kept drinking.
In the beginning she felt a quick boost of energy, but after a while that thrill and energizing was gone. She enjoyed the fizzy drink and its flavor, but she felt like a drug addict. Mary is concerned that energy drinks are available to minors and she believes that they should get the same treatment as alcohol and cigarettes.
Mary is a mother of Berivan (3), but she first tried this drink when she was 22 in order to get quick boost of energy levels. In the beginning it worked fine, but after 3-4 months she started consuming more than 10 cans on a daily basis. She drank the first two in the morning right after she got out of bed.
In case she couldn’t find a can in her home, she went to the local shop regardless of the time of the day. She always bought multi-packs. She even had to lie the staff that she is an owner of a restaurant because she knew that people will judge her.
After a while she started gaining weight an replace her size 16 with a size 24. Mary also focused on drinking Red Bull because she thought it was the best energy drink.
It is worth mentioning that after one year of intense drinking she has experienced heart issues, but this didn’t stop her habit. However, as we mentioned before, last year she experienced liver problems and as a result of that she finally ceased her bad habit. She is now back to normal and her weight has dropped.
It turns out that excessive alcohol intake for a long time can lead to liver inflammation and may also result in fibrosis which ultimately leads to liver damage or cirrhosis. However, an eating pattern marked by excessive sugar intake can result in accumulation of sugar in the liver which also leads to inflammation and the emergence of lumps and scarring.
Ms. Allwood had to explain to the doctors that she doesn’t drink alcohol even though they were asking her how much alcohol she is drinking a day because her liver had all the symptoms of the liver found in alcoholics. That’s when she admitted that she was consuming more than 10 cans of Red Bull a day and the doctors were shocked.
The only good thing about this is that the liver inflammation made Mary realize how dangerous this situation is and she tried a diet with meal replacements. Instead of drinking Red Bull she consumed 6-7 liters of water on a daily basis.
Mary had to go through the withdrawal symptoms like shakes and mood swings for about 30 days, but today she doesn’t feel any need to drink energy drinks. She explains that during these 30 days she bought a Red Bull a couple of time and she even opened the cans, but she didn’t consume any of it. She admits that she just put a few drops on her tongue and all she felt was strong sugar taste.
Today, she is trying to raise the awareness of the hidden dangers of energy drink consumption.
How Does Excessive Sugar Consumption Affect The Liver?
Although there are many people who believe that liver damage is exclusively associated with alcoholics, the fact is that about 20% of people have some type of liver damage or disease caused by overeating.
Liver disease is formed when excess fat is stored in our liver which is caused by intense drinking or eating. In this way, people are damaging liver cells even though in most cases this problem is without any symptoms and signs in the beginning.
However, if this practice continues for many years, this continuous damage can result in tissue scarring. The final result is liver cirrhosis. This scarring turns the liver into a lumpy and hard organ and the liver can’t get its job done.
A study revealed ten years ago in the famous Hepatology journal, confirmed that about 50% of people with fatty liver witnessed the emergence of moderate or severe scarring in a 14 year period.
So, obesity and overweight supports the thriving of liver disease because the high amount of visceral fat which is kept between abdominal organs secretes fatty acids and similar highly inflammatory compounds that lead to even more intense liver cell damage. The most problematic thing about this situation is the fact that this disease can’t be identified before it enters advanced stages.
Experts have pointed out that there are only a small number of symptoms that can indicate the presence of this disease. The fact is that our liver doesn’t come with nerve endings which mean that when there is a problem or damage down there, people can’t feel this change.
Dark-colored urine, chronic fatigue and bright colored stool are some of the signs. The presence of jaundice is another indicator. All these things come as a result of bilirubin accumulation, a waste product which the damaged liver can’t eliminate.
According to official statistics, liver disease is among the ten biggest killers in the world and the number of deaths caused by liver disease is growing.
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