Bad news for lovers of pizza or burgers: a new report suggests that eating too many meals high in saturated fat can destroy a person's metabolism.
In fact, researchers found the rapid increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes or obesity is greatly linked to the consumption of saturated fats. It may also lead to the development of a fatty liver among overweight people, they said.
Metabolism and Insulin Resistance
Saturated fat is often found in substances like palm oil. In the new study, scientists from the German Diabetes Center and the Helmholtz Center investigated the effects of palm oil among healthy, slim men.
The participants randomly received either a flavored palm oil drink or a clear glass of water during a control experiment. The palm oil drink had a similar amount of saturated fat as a large portion of French fries and two bacon cheeseburgers or two slices of salami pizzas.
Scientists showed that the single, high-fat meal of palm oil drink was enough to reduce the insulin action in participants. This meant that there were increased insulin resistance and increased fat content in the liver. Additionally, there were also changes in energy balance of the liver.
All these effects were considered similar to changes observed in people with type 2 diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the most common liver disease and is often associated with obesity, as well as with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to severe liver damage.
Michael Roden, one of the authors of the study, said it was surprising to see that a single drink of palm oil could have such a negative effect on the body.
In January, Roden also took part in a research that revealed the negative impacts of binge-eating meals high in fat. Their initial findings showed that eating meals high in saturated fats can increase the levels of triglycerides in the body as well as the glucadons in the blood.
Roden explained the key feature of their new study is that they used magnetic resonance spectroscopy -- a non-invasive technology -- to monitor the liver metabolism of the participants.
"This allows us to track the storage of sugar and fat as well as the energy metabolism of the mitochondria," added Roden.
Fight Fatty Liver Disease
There is a way to prevent the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A study in April 2016 found that drinking more coffee every day could result in a healthier liver. Experts from the University of Napoli found that coffee increases the production of the protein zonulin in the body, which reduces the permeability of the gut or the intestines.
Meanwhile, details of the new study are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.