Fast food consumption has been linked to potentially life-threatening liver disease

A study conducted by Keck Medicine of USC found that eating fast food can be linked with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. This is an extremely serious disease in which fat accumulates within the liver. The study showed that people who suffer from diabetes or obesity and consume more than 20% of their calories daily from fast food are suffering high levels of liver fat in comparison to those who consume little or no fast food. In general, the populace experiences moderately higher levels of liver fat that occur when more than one-fifth of their food intake comprises fast foods.

The risk of liver damage is greatest for those who suffer from being overweight or having diabetes.

The new year has started and, with its resolutions for changes.

A study conducted by Keck Medicine Founded in the year 1880 The University of Southern California is among the most prestigious privately-owned research institutions. It is located in the heart of Los Angeles. USC published on January 10, 2013, in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology gives people extra motivation to reduce fast-food consumption.

The study showed that fast food consumption is linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which is a life-threatening illness that causes fat to build up within the liver.

Researchers have discovered that those suffering from overweight and diabetes that consume at least 20% of their calories daily from fast food suffer from increased levels of liver fat when compared with those who consume little or no fast food. The general population also has moderately elevated levels the amount of fat in their livers when a fifth or more of their meals are fast food.

“Healthy livers have a tiny amount of fat. Usually, under 5% even a modest increase in fat could result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” stated Ani Kardashian MD who is a specialist in hepatology at Keck Medicine and lead researcher of this study. “The dramatic increase in liver fat for people with diabetes or obesity is strikingly evident likely because these diseases increase the risk of fat accumulation in the liver.”

Ani Kardashian, MD, an hepatologist at Keck Medicine of USC, is the principal researcher in a study that proves that fast-food consumption can cause liver diseases.
Ani Kardashian, MD, a hepatologist at Keck Medicine of USC, is the principal researcher in a study that proves that fast-food consumption can cause liver diseases.

Although previous research has demonstrated an association between fast food consumption and diabetes and obesity This is among the first scientific studies to show the negative effects of fast food consumption on liver health, says Kardashian.

The results also show that a small quantity of food fast, which is rich in fat and carbohydrates and can harm the liver. “If individuals eat just one daily meal at a fast food restaurant and think that they’re not causing harm,” said Kardashian. “However when that one meal contains at least one-fifth of the calories they consume every day the risk is that they’re putting their livers in danger.”

A nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which is also known as liver steatosis can cause cirrhosis and scarring in the liver that can lead to the development of liver cancer or failure. Liver steatosis can affect more than 30 percent of the U.S. population.

Kardashian and coworkers analyzed the most recent information from the nation’s largest annual survey of nutrition that was conducted in 2017, the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in order to evaluate the effect of fast food consumption on the liver’s Steatosis.

The study classified quick food meals as those that are served, which include pizza, that is served from either an outlet restaurant or one that does not have waiters.

Researchers analyzed the fatty liver measurements of about 4,000 adults whose liver measurements were taken as part of the study and compared these measurements with their fast-food consumption.

Of the people surveyed 52% of respondents ate fast food items. Of those two-thirds of them consumed at least one-fifth of their daily calories coming from fast foods. The remaining 29% of the subjects noticed an increase in the amount of fat in their livers.

The relationship between liver steatosis and 20% intake of fast food remained constant for both the general populace and those suffering from diabetes or obesity, even after adjustment for a variety of other factors like age, gender race, ethnicity, drinking alcohol, and physical exercise.

“Our findings are especially alarming since fast food consumption has been increasing over the past 50 years regardless of socioeconomic standing,” said Kardashian. “We’ve observed a massive rise in fast-food eating during the COVID-19 epidemic, which could be due to the declining popularity of eating out at restaurants that offer full service and the rising levels of hunger. We are concerned that the number of people suffering from liver diseases has increased in the years since the date of the study.”

The researcher hopes that the study will inspire healthcare professionals to provide patients with an education on nutrition, specifically to people suffering from diabetes or obesity who are more at the chance of developing a fatty liver due to fast food. The only method currently available to cure liver steatosis is an enhanced diet.

Source “Quantifying negative effects of fast-food consumption on Liver Steatosis among United States Adults with Diabetes and Obesity” by Ani Kardashian, MD, Jennifer L. Dodge, and Norah A. Terrault 10 January 2023 clinical gastroenterology, and Hepatology.

Jennifer Dodge, MPH, associate researcher in research medicine, public health, and population sciences within the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Norah Terrault, MD, MPH, a Keck Medicine director of the Division Chief for Gastroenterology and liver disease within Keck School of Medicine. Keck School, was also the author of the study.

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