How does fast food put your liver at risk?


  • According to the SNFGE, approximately 220,000 adults in France suffer from advanced liver disease with steatosis, inflammation and pre-cirrhotic fibrosis or cirrhosis.
  • 90% of obese people with type 2 diabetes suffer from fatty liver disease.
  • Currently, the only way to cure fatty liver disease is to improve your lifestyle through a balanced diet, weight loss and the fight against a sedentary lifestyle.

For many, fast food is one of life’s little pleasures. However, we know that this high-fat, high-carb diet is bad for your health. A new study, published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatologyshows that it is particularly harmful to the liver.

If people eat one fast food meal a day, they may think they are not harming themselves.“said Dr. Ani Kardashian, Keck Medicine hematologist at the University of Southern California and lead author of the paper.”However, if that meal is at least a fifth of their daily calories, they’re putting their liver at risk.

Fat from fast foods accumulates in the liver

The scientist and her colleagues analyzed the most recent data from the annual US Nutrition Survey, conducted in 2017-2018, to determine the impact of consumption of fast food (dishes, including fast food pizza) on fatty liver disease non alcoholic . Approximately 4,000 adults were interviewed and followed up. 52% of these people admitted to being fans of hamburgers and fried foods. For 29 percent of them, one-fifth or more of their daily calories came from fast food.

Researchers have found that obese or diabetic individuals who get 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food have very high levels of liver fat compared to those who consume very little fast food. It is a risk factor for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Furthermore, the general population also shows moderate increases in liver fat when one-fifth or more of their diet consists of fast food. Which is also problematic.

“Healthy livers contain a small amount of fat, usually less than 5%, and even moderate fat gain can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease”said Dr. Ani Kardashian. “The large increase in liver fat in obese or diabetics is particularly striking, and is likely due to the fact that these conditions lead to increased susceptibility to fat accumulation in the liver.”

Fatty liver disease: promote a balanced diet

Previous research had already highlighted a link between fast food, obesity and diabetes. However, the hematologist claims to present one of the first studies demonstrating the negative impact of fast food on the liver.

And this increased risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is concerning. The condition, dubbed fatty liver disease, can lead to cirrhosis or organ damage. They are likely to cause liver cancer or liver failure.

“Our findings are particularly alarming because fast food consumption has increased over the past 50 years, regardless of socioeconomic status”added Dr. Kardashian. “We have also seen a substantial increase in fast food dining during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is likely related to the decline of full-service restaurants and rising rates of food insecurity. We are concerned that the number of people with fatty liver disease has further increased since the time of the survey”, he warned. She hopes her work will lead healthcare professionals to pay particular attention to the nutritional advice provided to patients, particularly overweight or diabetic patients who are at increased risk of developing fatty liver disease.

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