Eating A Lot Of Meat Threatens Fatty Liver

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Eating A Lot Of Meat Threatens Fatty Liver
Eating A Lot Of Meat Threatens Fatty Liver

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Eating a lot of meat threatens fatty liver

People who eat a lot of animal protein are more prone to the appearance of excessive deposits of fat in the liver and diseases of this organ than those for whom vegetables are the main source of protein. Scientists suspect that the high amount of saturated fat in red meat is to blame.

Eating a lot of meat threatens fatty liver
Eating a lot of meat threatens fatty liver

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People who eat a lot of animal protein are more prone to the appearance of excessive deposits of fat in the liver and diseases of this organ than those for whom vegetables are the main source of protein. This is evidenced by a new Dutch study, the results of which are published in the journal BMJ Gu t.

Scientists at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center have focused on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is commonly associated with obesity and certain eating habits. There are specific dietary guidelines for treating this type of liver disease, but prevention is poorly understood.

For the study, the researchers examined data from surveys and liver scans of 3,882 adults, who were, on average, 70 years old. According to the study, 1,337 participants (34%) had NAFLD. Of these, 132 were of normal weight and 1205 were overweight.

The analysis showed that overweight people who ate the most animal protein were 54% more likely to suffer from fatty liver than people who ate the least meat. Importantly, the researchers said, the outcome was independent of overall calorie intake, social factors and lifestyle.

People with NAFLD also got more calories from protein - 16% (compared to 15.4% for the other participants). Vegetable consumption was the same for both groups, and only meat explains this difference, since meat, especially red meat, contains saturated fat.

Most people have relatively little fat in their liver. NAFLD occurs when more than 5% of the liver's mass is fat. In addition to the nature of the diet, increased fat deposition in the liver can provoke alcohol abuse.

This study was not controlled to show how dietary changes may affect the risk of developing NAFLD. To assess the diet and calorie intake, the scientists relied only on surveys of participants; they did not have data on the participants' intake of certain medications or the presence of viral infections. This could affect the correctness of the received data.

The findings of this study complement previous work that suggests people should limit their intake of red and processed meats and try to eat more fish and vegetables.

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