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Study: High-fat meals likely contribute to fatty liver disease, insulin resistance

A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found eating a meal high in saturated fat is a likely contributor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance. PHOTO: MGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found eating a meal high in saturated fat is a likely contributor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance.

The study found eating meals such as a pepperoni pizza, pork, cheeseburgers or meals cooked with high butter, cream, or hydrogenated oils content can have an immediate impact on your liver functions and alter your metabolic function. The impact is even greater for those who frequently eat their favorite high-fat foods.

Researchers say the ingestion of saturated fats rapidly increases hepatic lipid storage, energy metabolism, and insulin resistance.

The study was conducted on 14 "lean, young male volunteers" who either consumed a placebo or a heavy dose of palm oil (a hydrogenated oil) based on their weight. Those who consumed a heavy serving of saturated fat caused their livers to produce more glucose and a reduction in glucose oxidation. That metabolic process boosts sugar levels, which could cause insulin sensitivity and ultimately lead to obesity, cirrhosis of the liver, or type 2 diabetes.

While the study was small in size, the good news is consuming a healthy diet can lower the level of fat in the liver (triglycerides) in just a few days. However, those who develop diabetes or cirrhosis face larger challenges.

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