Saturated fats can raise risk of fatty liver disease – study

Liver disease: Doctor discusses causes and symptoms

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The liver is one of our vital organs that performs more than 500 functions. Fatty liver disease, which is also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, refers to a range of liver conditions that are not linked to alcohol. If not treated it can progress as far as cirrhosis – liver scarring – and even liver failure.

As the name suggests, the main cause of fatty liver disease is having too much fat stored in the liver.

Saturated fats are known to be particularly damaging to the body.

They include a type called trans fats and are dangerous because they stay solid, causing fatty deposits in the blood vessels which can cause them to harden.

In comparison, unsaturated fats typically remain as liquids making them less likely to clog the arteries.

Research has shown that saturated fats could also have a negative effect on the liver.

A study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, studied the impact of saturated fats on both humans and mice.

It explained: “Dietary intake of saturated fat is a likely contributor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance, but the mechanisms that initiate these abnormalities in humans remain unclear.

“We examined the effects of a single oral saturated fat load on insulin sensitivity, hepatic glucose metabolism, and lipid metabolism in humans.

“Similarly, initiating mechanisms were examined after an equivalent challenge in mice.”

The subjects drank one portion of saturated fat, which is roughly equal to the amount of fat you would find in a cheeseburger and a large portion of chips.

Researchers discovered that after consuming the saturated fat, participants’ insulin resistance immediately increased and it affected how the liver works.

Insulin resistance can also lead to increased blood sugar.

All measurements returned to normal some time after the meal.

The study concluded: “Saturated fat ingestion rapidly increases hepatic lipid storage, energy metabolism, and insulin resistance.

“This is accompanied by regulation of hepatic gene expression and signalling that may contribute to development of NAFLD.”

Hepatic lipid storage refers to fat stored in the liver.

Examples of saturated fats include:

  • Butter, ghee, suet, lard, coconut oil and palm oil
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Sausages
  • Bacon
  • Cured meats like salami, chorizo and pancetta
  • Cheese
  • Pastries, such as pies, quiches, sausage rolls and croissants
  • Cream, crème fraîche and sour cream
  • Ice cream
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Chocolate and chocolate spreads.

UK health guidelines state that men should eat no more than 30 grams of saturated fat a day.

And women should eat no more than 20g.

Fatty liver disease often shows no signs initially but if it worsens you could experience:

  • A dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy (over the lower right side of the ribs)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness.

Source: Read Full Article