Science Comes Clean About The Dangers Of High Protein Diets And Applauds Fruit
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is thought to be the most common chronic liver disease in the Western world. Now, a European study confirms that high protein diets cause non-alcoholic fatty liver, type 2 diabetes and that fructose (natural sugar from fruit) is not the cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Animal protein was associated with a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and causes fatty liver, new research has found. What is more, the findings demonstrated that fructose (fruit) consumption might not be as harmful as previously assumed. The good news is reversing fatty liver disease is possible with diet.
Study after study is beginning to reveal the physiological damage of eating a high protein diet. This new study, out Amsterdam from the European Association for the Study of the Liver, revealed that a diet high in animal protein is associated with a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which fat builds up in the liver.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to malfunction of the liver, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, permanent scarring (cirrhosis of the liver) and cancer. Fatty liver can also result in life-threatening complications for which a liver transplant may be needed. What is more, reversing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is possible by eating high quality carbohydrates such as fruit.
The findings, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, also reveal this one important gem of truth: that fructose consumption (natural sugar, from fruit) is not harmful. That being said, it should be noted, then, that while the study has highlighted the benefits of eating more fruit, it is not suggesting that genetically modified high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose derivative in processed foods, is in any way healthy.
The study surveyed 3,440 people of whom 30 percent were lean and 70 percent were overweight. The average age of the subjects were 71 years old. Fatty liver or NAFLD, was assessed by abdominal ultrasound, and was present in 35 percent of the participants.
Significant associations between macronutrients, "carbohydrate, protein, and fat" and NAFLD were found predominantly in overweight individuals. The results showed that total protein was associated with higher odds of NAFLD and this association was caused by animal protein. In reversing fatty liver disease animal protein would have to be removed from the diet.
"This large population-based study indicates that increased dietary protein, in particular of animal origin, increases the likelihood of developing NAFLD and should be taken into account when counseling patients at risk of developing NAFLD," said Prof Philip Newsome, Centre for Liver Research & Professor of Experimental Hepatology, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and EASL Governing Board Member.
Although specific dietary recommendations from this new study are lacking, reversing fatty liver disease is possible, according to other research, by removing fats from the diet and eating more plant-based meals that include high quality carbohydrates such as those in vegetables and fruit.