Just one fatty meal can damage liver

A meal like burger and chips can cause damage to your liver.
A meal like burger and chips can cause damage to your liver.

Just one meal of burger and chips contains enough fat to have an impact on the liver, according to a new study.

Scientists found that just one instance of fat intake, the equivalent to the amount in a rich meal like sausage and mash, causes an immediate increase in fat accumulation and slows down liver metabolism.

This could go a long way to showing why consistently fatty diets lead to a whole host of problems, including insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In a study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, a German-based team investigated how 14 lean, healthy people react to fat.

Prof Michael Roden’s lab at the German Diabetes Center investigated how a single episode of high saturated fat intake affected insulin sensitivity and markers of metabolism in humans.

They found that one instance of fat intake, equivalent to the amount in a rich meal, led to immediate increases in fat accumulation and alterations in liver metabolism.

Using example foods such as a pepperoni pizza, or cheeseburger and chips, they discovered the worrying changes each dish has on the body - including insulin resistance and higher glucagon levels in the blood.

Prof Roden said: “One such meal would probably be sufficient to induce transient insulin resistance and impair hepatic metabolism, which necessitates the activation of hepatic defence mechanisms.”

These observations indicate that saturated fat ingestion lays the foundation for metabolic diseases through its rapid effects on liver metabolism and fat storage.