WHAT Happens When You Eat a Pizza?!?And you thought it was beer that could hurt your liver. Pizza can do it, too.
Eating any high-fat meal--from a cheeseburger and fries to a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese--disrupts liver function, HealthDay News reports of research from Germany. And over time the rapid effect of "fat loading" could contribute to fatty liver disease.
Led by Dr. Michael Roden, the scientific director of the German Diabetes Center at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, the team found that the high levels of saturated fat in rich foods immediately alter the liver, and this in turn sets up the body for serious disease in the long term.
"The effects mimic the abnormalities seen in people with severe metabolic disease," Roden told HealthDay News. Severe metabolic disease refers to conditions as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. What is not clear is how long the metabolic alterations last after indulging in a high-fat meal.
What does the liver do? It is a large organ weighing about three pounds. The pancreas and intestines work with the liver to digest, absorb and process our food. The liver's primary job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract before it is passed on to the rest of the body. It is essential to processing fats and carbohydrates, as well as detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs, according to WebMD.
What is fatty liver disease? When fatty foods are consumed in excess, those fats accumulate and can cause a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver. As many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from this, most of whom are obese. It can also lead to cirrhosis, which is characterized by scarring of the liver.
What foods are most likely to damage the liver? Butter, fatty cheeses and coconut oil lead the list, followed by fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with the skin, cream and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.
There is good news! Healthy people can overcome the effects of fat loading--in just a few days--by changing their diet. Instead of bingeing on foods with saturated fats, eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry (without the skin), fish and nuts. Limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.