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How saturated fat may trigger liver disease

Tuesday January 24th, 2017

A single large helping of saturated fat leads to fat accumulating in the liver and to metabolic changes, according to a German study published last night.

This included an impact on insulin sensitivity, according to the research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

British experts said the findings threw light on how saturated fat might contribute to insulin resistance.

But they warned against using the study to conclude that saturated fat was especially harmful to the liver.

Dr Emily Burns, from Diabetes UK, said its advice remained that a balanced diet should be used to achieve a healthy weight.

She said: “We know that eating too much saturated fat might be linked to insulin resistance and this study gives us some insight into what’s actually happening inside the body.

"While this study suggests that fat has a real impact on the liver, we need to be careful how we interpret the results. The research didn’t involve any women and didn’t compare the effects of saturated fat to other foods like protein or unsaturated fat."

For the study, Michael Roden, of the German Diabetes Centre at the Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, and fellow researchers studied 14 lean, healthy volunteers, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

They write: "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 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."

Acute dietary fat intake initiates alterations in energy metabolism and insulin resistance Journal of Clinical Investigation 23 January 2017 [abstract]

Tags: Diabetes | Diet & Food | Europe | Internal Medicine | UK News

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