By Culturekiosque Staff
NEW YORK, 13 MAY 2014 Researchers from The Netherlands found
that snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods was independently
associated with abdominal fat and fatty liver (hepatic steatosis).
According to the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, hypercaloric diet
with frequent meals increases intrahepatic triglyceride content (IHTG) and
fat around the waist, but increasing meal size did not.
Obesity is a global health concern with the World Health Organization
reporting that more than 200 million men and close to 300 million women
were obese in 2008. In the U.S. the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) report that 36% of adult Americans and 17% of children in
the country are obese. Studies link obesity to the accumulation of
abdominal fat and fat in the liver, making non-alcoholic fatty liver
disease (NAFLD) one of the most prevalent diseases of the liver.
"American children consume up to 27% of calories from high-fat and
high-sugar snacks," said lead author Dr. Mireille Serlie with the Academic
Medical Centre Amsterdam in The Netherlands. "Our study examines if high
meal frequency, with snacking, compared to large meal consumption
contributes to increased intrahepatic and abdominal fat."
For the present study 36 lean men were randomized to a hypercaloric
diet or a eucaloric control diet (balanced diet) for six weeks.
Researchers measured IHTG and abdominal fat using magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) and insulin sensitivity before and after the diet. Those
subjects on the hypercaloric diet ate 3 main meals along with additional
calories from high fat and/or high sugar drinks, with or in between meals,
to increase meal size or meal frequency.
Results show that high calorie diets increased BMI. Eating more
frequent meals significantly increased IHTG, while larger sized meals did
not. Researchers found that belly fat increased in the high fat/high sugar
frequency group and in the high sugar-frequency group. A decrease in liver
insulin sensitivity was found in the high fat/high sugar-frequency
Dr. Serlie concludes, "Our study provides the first evidence that
eating more often, rather than consuming large meals, contributes to fatty
liver independent of body weight gain. These findings suggest that by
cutting down on snacking and encouraging three balanced meals each day
over the long term may reduce the prevalence of NAFLD."
Image: The Frye-ku Folio:
by Arcangelo Frye, a Canadian writer and
illustrator based in Montreal.
Copyright © 2014
Euromedia Group, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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