Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Risk Increases when Eating Meat

nafld risk meatRisk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) increases with high animal meat consumption. The latest research findings suggest that animal meat consumption is associated with higher fat accumulation in the liver, which can trigger NAFLD.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is often associated with obesity and particular eating habits, typically diets high in fat.


The latest study looked at data collected from dietary questionnaires and liver fat scans of 3,882 adults over the age of 70. The scans revealed 1,337 participants – or 34 percent – had NAFLD.

Being overweight and consuming high amounts of red meat was associated with a 54 percent higher likelihood of developing NAFLD.

Senior study author Dr. Sarwa Darwish Murad explained, “This was independent of common risk factors for NAFLD such as sociodemographic factors, lifestyle, and metabolic factors. Perhaps most importantly, the association was independent of total caloric intake. We also showed that a diverse diet is important.”

Participants without NAFLD consumed an average of 2,052 calories a day compared to 1,996 calories among those with NAFLD. NAFLD patients received the bulk of their calories from protein sources. Vegetable consumption was found to be nearly the same among both groups, so protein consumption was the main difference between those with NAFLD and those without.

Fatty liver disease is diagnosed if five percent or more of the liver is made up of fat. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, which is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease. In NAFLD, there isn’t significant alcohol consumption and the fatty liver is caused by another source.

The study suggests that adhering to a healthy diet may prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It also sheds light that the saturated fat found in meat may be a large contributing factor to NAFLD if consumed in large amounts. Always ensure that you are eating meat in moderation and opt for leaner types of meat like fish or poultry as healthier alternatives.


Processed meat is particularly dangerous because it triggers inflammation in the body, which can trigger insulin resistance. This can lead to excess sugar in the blood and diabetes, which can also negatively impact the liver.

It is recommended that red meat should be consumed no more than twice a week. Plant-based protein is also a great alternative to red meat protein and is healthier for you.

Also read:

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


Related Reading: