Eating processed foods may do more than cause weight gain. A new study shows that two ingredients found in processed foods increases the risk of fatty disease of the liver. Fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver, is one of the most common causes of liver disease that’s not related to alcohol consumption. In some cases, it can lead to liver scarring – and even cirrhosis and liver failure.
How Common is Fatty Disease of the Liver?
Up to one in five adults and more than sixty-six percent of Americans who are obese have this condition ‘” and many don’t know it. People who have metabolic syndrome or diabetes are also more likely to have a fatty liver.
Does Eating Processed Foods Contribute to This Condition?
New research in mice shows that eating processed foods increases the risk of fatty liver disease. Two ingredients commonly found in processed foods are high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats. Fortunately, manufacturers have lowered the amount of trans fat in many processed foods, but some still contain hydrogenated oils despite the “zero grams of trans fat” on the label.
When researchers gave mice either a normal diet or one rich in fructose, sucrose, and trans-fat for four months, the mice that ate the “processed food” diet developed excess fatty liver tissue and liver scarring similar to the changes seen in advanced fatty disease of the liver in humans. Not only that, but the mice became obese. In contrast, the mice fed a normal diet remained slender with no evidence of fatty liver disease.
Is Eating Processed Foods Bad News for the Liver?
Not only do the trans fats and high fructose corn syrup in processed foods contribute to the obesity epidemic, but they’re bad for the liver too. Although this study was done in mice, there’s reason to believe that the same holds true for humans too. A study published in the journal Hepatology showed that young men who drank drinks sweetened with fructose corn syrup were more likely to develop liver scarring – not a good endorsement for soft drinks.
Eating Processed Foods and the Risk of Fatty Disease of the Liver: The Bottom Line
Processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats aren’t good for mice – and they aren’t good for humans either. Cut back on the processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup and trans-fat. It’ll keep you slimmer – and it could save your liver too.