When you are hungry and need a quick bite it is tempting to go through the drive-through to get your favorite fast-food burger. Of course, we all know that fast food isn’t healthy but a new study says to consume it at your own risk.
Researchers from Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California found that consumption of fast food is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“Healthy livers contain a small amount of fat, usually less than 5%, and even a moderate increase in fat can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Ani Kardashian, MD, a hepatologist with Keck Medicine and lead author of the study.keckmedicine.org
The study shows that people who are obese or diabetic and also consume 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food have severely elevated levels of fat in their liver compared to similar people who consume less or no fast food.
You may be thinking that the drive-through is still for you if you are not obese or diabetic.
Well, unfortunately, the general population has moderate increases in liver fat when 20% or more of their diet is made up of fast food.
So just in case you missed it… consuming fast food more than 20% of the time can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
This condition is characterized by fat build-up in the liver, which can be dangerous and even fatal.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) which can cause cancer or liver failure.
For the purpose of the study, they defined fast food meals from either a drive-through or a restaurant that has no serving staff. And fast food does include pizza. Which totally sucks.
Even eating fast food once a day, as long as it accounts for more than 1/5 of a person’s daily calories, can increase fat levels in the liver.
Thus, while it may be tempting to indulge in fast food every once in a while, it is important to practice moderation and eat healthier options as much as possible in order to maintain a healthy liver.
“Our findings are particularly alarming as fast-food consumption has gone up in the last 50 years, regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Kardashian. “We’ve also seen a substantial surge in fast-food dining during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is probably related to the decline in full-service restaurant dining and rising rates of food insecurity. We worry that the number of those with fatty livers has gone up even more since the time of the survey.”Keckmedicine.org
And if you are stuck and have no other option than a fast food meal then why not go for an intermittent fast instead? It would be healthier for your liver and for the rest of your body if you ate nothing at all.
Read more > Consumption of Fast Food Linked to Liver Disease
Read the study > Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal
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