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Snacking on junk food is associated with fatty liver and obesity

A lot of people think energy snacks consisting of high-fat and high-sugar foods are a good way to keep them going during the day. However, new research shows that snacking on junk food contributes to fatty liver and abdominal obesity reported Wiley in a press release on May 6, 2014. Researchers from the Netherlands have discovered that snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods was independently associated with abdominal fat and fatty liver.

Delicious and nutritious healthy meals
Delicious and nutritious healthy meals
Morguefile/Freephoto
A delicious, nutritious meal
Morguefile/Freephoto

According to these researchers a hypercaloric diet with frequent meals increases intrahepatic triglyceride content and fat around the waist while increasing meal size did not. This is a serious matter. Obesity has become a major health concern across the world. The World Health Organization has reported that greater than 200 million men and close to 300 million women were obese in 2008.

It has been reported by the U.S. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 36 percent of adult Americans and 17 percent of kids in the United States are obese. Studies have found an association between obesity and the accumulation of abdominal fat and fat in the liver, therefore making non-alcoholic fatty liver disease one of the most prevalent illnesses of the liver. Lead author Dr. Mireille Serlie with the Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam in the Netherlands says American kids consume up to 27 percent of calories from high-fat and high-sugar snacks.

Serlie says this study offers the first evidence that eating more often, instead of consuming large meals, contributes to fatty liver independent of body weight gain. It is therefore suggested by these findings that by cutting down on snacking and instead encouraging three balanced meals daily over the long term may lower the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

This study has been published in the journal Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. American kids consume a lot of their calories from high-fat and high-sugar snacks. High sugar and fat consumption have been found to cause hepatic steatosis and obesity. However, the effect of meal patterns has been largely underexposed.

The researchers hypothesized that a high meal frequency, in comparison to consuming nutritious large meals, is detrimental in the accumulation of intrahepatic and abdominal fat. This study has offered the first evidence that eating more often, rather than consuming large meals, contributes to fatty liver independently of body weight gain. It is therefore suggested to cut down on snacking and encourage three balanced meals daily.