It is well known that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused, at least partly, by a diet high in fat and sugars.
However, there is one food type that is usually high in fat and sugars but has not been researched much in regard to NAFLD.
A new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology fills this gap and reveals that if you stop eating just this one food type, you may drastically improve your NAFLD.
The scientists analyzed data mined from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017–2018.
They used vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE) to check the amount of fat in the subjects’ livers.The buildup of fat in the liver that happens in NAFLD is also called steatosis.
The subjects were all 20 years of age or older, not pregnant, and able to provide two-day food recall data to record their fast food consumption.
The researchers defined fast food as restaurant fast food or pizza, and the subjects were categorized according to the number of daily calories they consumed in this form.
The scientists adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, alcohol use, and physical activity to ensure that none of these factors influenced their findings.
This is what they discovered:
1. Almost 52% of the participants regularly ate fast food.
2. 29% of those who obtained 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food were male, young, and obese and frequently consumed sugar-sweetened drinks.
3. Those who consumed 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food had higher levels of steatosis.
4. When heavy drinkers were excluded, the relationship between fast food consumption and steatosis remained the same.
5. The participants who consumed 20% or more of their daily calories from fast food were, unsurprisingly, more likely to have diabetes and be obese.
6. Fast food consumption caused much more steatosis in people who were obese and diabetic than in people who were neither.
7. 17% of NAFLD cases in people who are obese and diabetic are probably caused by fast food intake.
This means that fast food consumption causes NAFLD and that the effect of this type of food is much worse among people with obesity and diabetes.