An article in Yahoo News, Fast-food binge harms liver, but boosts good cholesterol: study, caught my attention yesterday. Within the article, which provided details from the findings of a neat little study in Sweden, was an intriguing quote from the lead researcher, Dr. Frederik Nystrom:
"That signs of liver damage were linked to carbohydrates was another key finding, he said.
"It was not the fat in the hamburgers, it was rather the sugar in the coke," he said."
A sort of duplication of Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me - Fast food based hyper-alimentation can induce rapid and profound elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase in healthy subjects - in which subjects were to consume two meals a day from fast food restaurants and cease any daily exercise for a month.
Eat a-plenty they did! Where their baseline calorie intake was an average 2273-calories each day, during the study they consumed 5753-calories a day! Not only did they gain weight (as expected), they also experienced an increase in their waist circumference and BMI, their HOMA-IR (insulin resistance score) increased, and their liver panel indicated development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) to boot!
The underlying culprit was simply calories, or even an increase in dietary fat - but the significant increase in both sugar and total carbohydrate in the diet.
Now take a look at what's being reported in the media, as picked up by Conditioning Research:
It is interesting to see how this has been reported elsewhere:
MedPage today says: Explain to interested patients that this small study suggested that overdoing it on high-fat foods, even during a short holiday period, for instance, and a failure to exercise can cause liver damage.
eh? the researchers said it was the sugar not the fat
NHS Choices says: The study does provide a further reason to avoid overeating (especially food high in saturated fat) if one is needed.
er...the researcher said that "The study showed that the increase in saturated fat correlated with the increase in healthy cholesterol"
Then there is the CBS article, "The study, published in the advance online edition of Gut, doesn't show which was more damaging - bingeing on fatty food or being sedentary."
ABC News, "The extra fat is the big enchilada here..."
My take? There are none so blind as those who will not see.
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