Fast Food Consumption Is Associated With An Increased Risk Of Developing Liver Disease

Fast Food Consumption Is Associated With An Increased Risk Of Developing Liver Disease
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A further incentive to cut down on fast food intake comes in the form of research from Keck Medicine of USC, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology on January 10, 2013. Fast food consumption was shown to be linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a disorder characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver that may have fatal consequences.

Twenty percent or more of a person’s daily caloric intake from fast food is associated with significantly increased amounts of fat in the liver, according to a recent study of adults with obesity or diabetes. When fast food makes up more than a fifth of a person’s diet, there is a modest rise in liver fat.

In a healthy liver, fat levels are low (less than 5 percent), and even a little increase in fat may cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Persons with obesity and diabetes have a strikingly higher incidence of liver fat, which is likely related to the increased propensity for fat accumulation in the liver brought about by these illnesses.

According to the study’s primary author, Ani Kardashian, this is one of the first studies to reveal the harmful effect of fast food on liver function, despite earlier research showing a relationship between fast food and obesity and diabetes. In addition, the results show that even a little quantity of fast food, which is often heavy in carbs and fat, might damage the liver. There is a misconception that eating fast food once a day isn’t that bad for you. Their livers are placed at danger, however, if the total number of calories in that one meal is at least 20% of their daily total.

Liver steatosis (the medical term for NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver. If left untreated, it may induce cirrhosis, which in turn can lead to cancer or liver failure in nonalcoholics. The prevalence of liver steatosis in the United States is estimated to be around 30%.

To assess the link between fast food intake and liver steatosis, Kardashian and coworkers studied data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, the biggest annual nutritional survey in the United States. Fast food was defined in the research as meals purchased through a drive-through or counter service restaurant, which included pizza.

About 4,000 persons had fatty liver measures included in the survey, and those results were linked to the participants’ reported fast food intake. Fifty-two percent of the people questioned regularly ate fast food. The majority of these people (29%!) get at least 20% of their daily calories from fast food. Only those survey respondents in the 29th percentile saw an increase in liver fat.

To learn how fast food intake correlates with liver steatosis, Kardashian and coworkers looked at the most current data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, the biggest annual nutritional survey in the United States. In the survey, “quick food” was defined as taking out or eating at a restaurant that did not have wait staff, which included pizza.

About 4,000 persons had fatty liver measures included in the survey, and those results were matched to the participants’ fast food intake.

Fifty-two percent of the people questioned regularly ate fast food. Two-ninths of these people got at least 20% of their daily caloric intake from fast food. The percentage of those whose liver fat increased only increased by 29% in the survey.

After controlling for demographic variables such age, sex, race/ethnicity, alcohol usage, and physical activity level, the correlation between liver steatosis and a 20% fast food diet remained stable in both the general population as well as individuals with obesity or diabetes.

Since fast food consumption has increased over the previous 50 years, regardless of socioeconomic position, the results are especially concerning. Because of the fall in full-service restaurants and the increasing rates of food poverty, we have also witnessed a considerable increase in fast-food consumption during the COVID-19 epidemic.


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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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