Fast food can increase the risk of liver disease

Health experts already know that fast food can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Now, research has found that regular consumption of fast-food burgers, fries, pizza, and the like can also contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a potentially life-threatening condition in which fat builds up in the liver.

Based on an analysis of health records from 4,000 adults whose fatty liver measurements were included in the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (from 2017–18), scientists discovered that people with obesity or diabetes consume one-fifth or more of their daily calories from fast food have greatly increased fat levels in their liver compared to those who eat less or no fast food.

A diet that consisted of at least 20 percent fast food was also associated with a modest increase in liver fat in the general population.

Many people in the study ate fast food every day

“We were surprised at how damaging fast food can be to the liver, especially in people with diabetes or obesity,” said study lead author Ani Kardashian, MD, a hepatologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. “I think most people probably aren’t aware that eating fast food and eating an unhealthy diet can cause liver problems. Fatty liver is a major public health problem that can lead to cirrhosis [the development of scar tissue in the liver]liver failure and liver cancer.”

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