Eating fast food is linked to a potentially life-threatening liver condition, a new study finds

Eating fast food is linked to a potentially life-threatening liver condition, a new study finds

If you needed another reason to kick your late-night fast food habit, new research into the negative impact of fast food might just provide it. (Alicia Clarke, Alamy)

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TORONTO — If you needed another reason to kick your late-night McDonald’s habit, new research into the negative impact of fast food might just give it.

Reviewed study from Keck Medicine USC published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that fast food consumption is associated with the potentially life-threatening condition of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

“Our findings are particularly alarming because fast food consumption has increased over the past 50 years, regardless of socioeconomic status,” hepatologist and study lead author Ani Kardashian said in a press release.

Study subjects who consumed fast food as one-fifth of their daily calories showed significantly higher levels of liver fat compared to those who consumed less or none at all.

Even those who have consumed relatively modest amounts of fast food can experience liver damage, research has shown.

Researchers analyzed recent data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the largest annual survey of nutrition in the US, to determine how fast food consumption may affect liver steatosis, a condition caused by excessive fat accumulation. up in your liver.

In the study, fast food was classified as a drive-thru restaurant or a sit-down restaurant, including pizza.

Researchers compared the fatty liver measurements of approximately 4,000 adults in a survey with their consumption of fast food and found that 52% of those evaluated ate fast food.

Of this group, 29 consumed 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food. This percentage of people was the only one in the study to show an increase in liver fat levels.

The prevalence of the association between fast food and fatty liver was true for both the general population and those with obesity or diabetes, even after the data were adjusted for other factors such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, alcohol use, and physical activity .

According to Statistics, about 29% of Canadian adults aged 18 and over were obese in 2021, and 36% were overweight.

And while there are other studies linking fast food and obesity, this is the first of its kind to find an impact on liver health, Kardashian says.

Fat intake should be less than 30% of daily calories, and in order to improve NAFLD, it is necessary to consume anti-inflammatory foods rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to another study.

Foods such as avocados, nuts and fish are some of the foods rich in these beneficial fatty acids.

The researchers hope that these findings encourage healthcare providers to offer patients more nutrition education in the future to those at higher risk of developing NAFLD from fast food, such as those with obesity or diabetes

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