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Fast food Credit: Wikipedia

The results of a recent study may give extra motivation to those trying to cut back on the amount of fast food that they eat. The study found that consumption of fast food is linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The researchers found moderate increases in liver fat in everyone consuming  20% or more of daily calories from fast food (about 1 meal a day). They also found that obese individuals or people with diabetes who consume 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food had severely elevated levels of fat in their liver.

We already know that fast foods are associated with a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease, and now NAFLD can be added. It is thought that NAFLD affects 30% of the U.S. population!

According to the US National Institute of Health: "Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are types of NAFLD. If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver damage, along with fat in your liver."

What to do about this abnormal build up of fat in the liver? The only treatment is changing your diet and losing weight. A healthy diet is one rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. For example, a Mediterranean style diet.

From Science Daily: Consumption of fast food linked to liver disease

A study from Keck Medicine of USC published today in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology gives people extra motivation to reduce fast-food consumption. ...continue reading "Fast Food and Liver Disease"

Stop drinking soda every day! Research finds that a daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit may increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Earlier research has already linked daily sugar-sweetened beverages (typically soda) to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup in general (found in many highly processed foods) . From Medical Xpress:

Daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

A daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit may increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HRNCA) at Tufts University report today in the Journal of Hepatology.

The researchers analyzed 2,634 self-reported dietary questionnaires from mostly Caucasian middle-aged men and women enrolled in the National Heart Lunch and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Framingham Heart Study's Offspring and Third Generation cohorts....The participants underwent a computed tomography (CT) scan to measure the amount of fat in the liver and the authors of the current study used a previously defined cut-point to identify NAFLD. They saw a higher prevalence of NAFLD among people who reported drinking more than one sugar-sweetened beverage per day compared to people who said they drank no sugar-sweetened beverages.

The relationships between sugar-sweetened beverages and NAFLD persisted after the authors accounted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and dietary and lifestyle factors such as calorie intake, alcohol, and smoking. In contrast, after accounting for these factors the authors found no association between diet cola and NAFLD.

NAFLD is characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver cells that is unrelated to alcohol consumption. NAFLD is diagnosed by ultrasounds, CT, MRI, or biopsy, and many of the approximately 25% of Americans with the disease don't experience any symptoms. Being obese or overweight increases the risk for NAFLD and people with NAFLD are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major dietary source of fructose, the sugar that is suspected of increasing risk of NAFLD because of how our bodies process it.