A single high-fat meal can damage the metabolism

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The global proliferation of overweight and obese people and people with type 2 diabetes is often associated with the consumption of saturated fats.

In a recent study, scientists at the German Diabetes Center and elsewhere found that even the one-off intake of a more significant amount of palm oil reduces the body’s sensitivity to insulin and causes increased fat deposits as well as changes in the energy metabolism of the liver.

The results provide information on the earliest changes in the metabolism of the liver that in the long-term lead to fatty liver disease in overweight people and those with type 2 diabetes.

In the study, the team examined healthy, slim men, who were given a flavored palm oil drink or a glass of clear water in a control experiment.

The palm oil drink contained a similar amount of saturated fat as two cheeseburgers with bacon and a large portion of French fries or two salami pizzas.

The scientists showed that this single high-fat meal sufficed to reduce the insulin action, e.g. causing insulin resistance and increasing the fat content of the liver.

In addition, they found changes in the energy balance of the liver. The observed metabolic changes were similar to changes observed in persons with type 2 diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

NAFLD is the most common liver disease in industrial nations and associated with obesity, the so-called “metabolic syndrome,” and is associated with an increased risk in developing type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, NAFLD in advanced stages can result in severe liver damage.

Thanks to the new methods of investigation, the scientists were able to verify that the intake of palm oil affects the metabolic activity of muscles, liver, and fatty tissue.

The induced insulin resistance leads to an increased new formation of sugar in the liver with a concomitant decreased sugar absorption in the skeletal muscles – a mechanism that makes the glucose level rise in persons afflicted with type 2 diabetes and its pre-stages.

In addition, the insulin resistance of the fatty tissue causes an increased release of fats into the bloodstream, which in turn continues to foster insulin resistance.

The team says the increased availability of fat leads to an increased workload for the mitochondria, which can in the long term overtax these cellular power plants and contribute to the emergence of liver disease.

They suspect that healthy people, depending on genetic predisposition, can easily manage this direct impact of fatty food on the metabolism.

However, the long-term consequences for regular eaters of such high-fat meals can be far more problematic.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how vitamin D delivers on heart health, and this dieting method could effectively reduce inflammation.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about vegetables that may reduce kidney damage caused by diabetes, and results showing this stuff in oranges and tangerines may help prevent diabetes, and heart disease.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and conducted by Dr. Michael Roden et al.

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