Fast food consumption may increase the risk of liver disease

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Regular consumption of fast food may have harmful effects on the liver. Image credit: B&J/Stocksy
  • Fast food poses certain health risks when consumed regularly, and experts are working to understand its full risks, particularly with regard to liver health.
  • A recent study found that eating 20% ​​or more of your daily food intake from fast food sources can increase your risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • The research suggests that the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may be higher for people who are obese or have diabetes.

Fast food is readily available in the United States and many other countries of the world as a quick meal option, but it can be unhealthy to eat this type of food regularly.

A recent study published in Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology studied the effect of fast food consumption among adults in the United States and its relationship to the accumulation of fat in the liver.

Researchers have found that consuming 20% ​​or more of your daily calories from fast food can increase your risk of developing fatty liver disease, also known as steatosis..

Fast food provides convenience to consumers, and eating fast food is very popular in the United States. For example, it is often faster to buy pizza or fried chicken than to prepare a meal at home. However, fast food options often contain large amounts of added salt and fat and may not be a good source of some nutrients.

explained Tara Bassey, a board-certified registered dietitian who was not involved in the study Medical news today:

The food served at fast food restaurants is often high in fat, calories and sugar but low in nutrients and fiber. While occasional junk food is not a problem, eating it regularly may increase your risk of obesity, heart attack, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and other health problems.”

One of the attention disorders related to the consumption of junk food is Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis. This is a broad category of liver disease that has to do with the accumulation of fat in the liver and the liver damage that this buildup can lead to.

People with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can develop cardiovascular disease, liver cancer, or end-stage liver disease as complications.

This study included adults 20 years of age or older and used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers analyzed data from diet recall surveys and measured steatosis within specific parameters.

In their analysis of nearly 4,000 adults, 29% received 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food sources.

The researchers found that 20% or more of the daily intake of junk food was associated with an increase in steatosis. This association was more pronounced among people with obesity or diabetes.

Thus, the researchers say, people in these groups could see more adverse effects on their livers than those in the general population.

Dr. Annie Kardashian, a hepatologist at Keck Medicine from the University of Southern California, explained the main findings of the MNT:

“Eating at least a fifth of your total daily calories from fast food (which is true for 29% of the US population!) can increase your risk of developing fatty liver, which can lead to cirrhosis and its complications, including liver failure.” and liver cancer. The negative effects are particularly severe in people who already have diabetes and obesity.”

d p. Kardashian noted that the results of the study could motivate people to make healthy food choices.

“I hope this study encourages people to seek more nutritious and healthy food options and provides information that clinicians can use to advise their patients, especially those with underlying metabolic risk factors, about the importance of avoiding foods that are high in fat, carbohydrates and sugars.” manufacturer.

The study has some limitations. First, because it was observational, it cannot prove that fast food consumption causes fatty liver disease.

The researchers were also unable to account for certain factors such as geographic characteristics. They also note that the methods they used to measure steatosis only allowed for a certain level of accuracy. Thus, further research can work towards using more accurate measurement methods.

Finally, the measurements of junk food intake relied on self-reporting from the participants, which carries a risk of some errors.

d p. Kardashian stressed that more research is needed “to understand the impact of social determinants of health and food insecurity on fast food consumption in people with chronic diseases.”

“We also need to design, implement and research healthy dietary interventions for people with metabolic conditions who are at higher risk of fatty liver disease to better understand whether they can reverse or improve fatty liver,” she added.

Overall, the study serves as a warning about the potential dangers of regular consumption of fast food.

With this knowledge, people can make lifestyle changes with the help of professionals as needed.

Jennifer valdez, a registered dietitian with memorial hermann in houston texas, who was not involved in the study, noted MNT This study showed a significant association between fast food and disease risk.

This study showed that the more fast food a person ate, the higher the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. What was really interesting to me, though, is that this risk is higher in people who have comorbidities, like diabetes. [or] She said.

Healthcare providers should target this population [with comorbities] in order to submit [preventive] And important healthy lifestyle advice… Always feel encouraged to stand up for yourself during your annual check-up with your primary care providers and seek diet/lifestyle advice. Contact a registered dietitian for advice on how to make appropriate and sustainable dietary changes.
Jennifer Valdez, registered dietitian

Tara Bassey also gave some lifestyle tips for people to reduce their consumption of junk food:

  • Start small: To reduce your junk food intake, start small by reducing the number of days you eat. For example, if you eat fast food five days a week, cut it down to three days a week; And continue to reduce the number of days every week or every two weeks.
  • Meal plan: Start planning your meals for the week or at least five days a week. Planning your meals allows you to be prepared, so you don’t count on grabbing takeaways for a last-minute meal.
  • Eat balanced meals: Make sure your meals are complete with carbohydrates/fibre, protein and fat. This will balance blood sugar, reduce food cravings, and make you feel full and satisfied.

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