Snacking ‘linked to obesity and fatty liver’

7 May 2014

Snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods is linked to increased abdominal fat and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), according to new research published in the journal Hepatology. 

The recent study suggests a hypercaloric diet with frequent meals increases intrahepatic triglyceride content (IHTG) and fat around the waist, but increasing the size of meals did not.

For the research, 36 lean men were randomly assigned to a hypercaloric diet or a eucaloric control diet (balanced diet) for six weeks. During this time, IHTG levels and abdominal fat was measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and insulin sensitivity before and after the eating regime.

The results demonstrated that high calorie diets increased a person’s body mass index and eating these more frequently cause IHTG levels to rise.

Abdominal fat increased in the high-fat/high-sugar frequency group and in the high-sugar frequency group and a decrease in liver insulin sensitivity was found in the high-fat/high-sugar-frequency group.

Dr. Mireille Serlie, lead author of the research, commented: “These findings suggest that by cutting down on snacking and encouraging three balanced meals each day over the long term may reduce the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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