Many diets have been hailed as being able to improve your health, such as the Mediterranean diet. On the other hand, there are diets that can make us quite ill. The Western diet is often discussed as being detrimental to health.
The typical Western diet is high in fat and sugar, and we already know these two components can wreak havoc on our health. The latest findings suggest that the Western diet can have detrimental effects on our liver as well.
Western diet increases risk of liver cancer
A new study was done where researchers fed mice a Western diet, which is high in fat and sugar. These mice were more likely to develop liver tumors compared to mice who did not consume the Western diet. When the Western diet-fed mice were treated with antibiotics, they did not respond to the treatment.
The researchers specifically looked at mice missing farnesoid x receptor (FXR), which is involved in bile synthesis, secretion, and transport. Bile is necessary for proper digestion. Low FXR levels are seen in patients with cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The FXR-deficient mice and healthy mice were fed a high-sugar and high-fat diet for 10 months.
The FXR-deficient mice developed liver tumors and had higher levels of genes that trigger inflammation.
But how does the Western diet make the liver sick? Researchers suggest that it increases pro-inflammatory gut bacteria and reduces species that work to reduce inflammation. In turn, the liver becomes sick.
Lead author of the study Dr. Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan explained, “Gut and liver health are linked. Because the liver receives 70 percent of its blood supply from the intestine, it is important to understand how the gut contributes to liver disease development.”
There are many studies that attribute a Western diet to poor health and this is just another one that solidifies the point. Instead, we should opt for a diet low in fat and sugar. As mentioned earlier, the Mediterranean diet time and time again is hailed for its numerous benefits to health. It emphasizes a high intake of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and above all, low fat and sugar.
Take a close look at your diet and make necessary changes if you find you’re adhering closer to a Western diet. Replacing processed, fatty, and sugary foods with foods that are naturally occurring can go a long way in preventing disease.
Related: What causes liver pain?