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Saturated fat more harmful to the liver than unsaturated fat or sugars

21 / 08 / 18

Finding: Saturated fat increased liver fat most when compared to unsaturated fat and simple sugars during overfeeding of overweight subjects.

Summary:  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) increases risk of type diabetes and CVD. NAFLD is characterised by increased intrahepatic triglyceride content (IHTG) which can arise via lipolysis of fat tissue, or de-novo lipogenesis (DNL). This study tested the effects of macronutrient composition of the diet on IHTG by overfeeding overweight subjects an extra 1000kcal/day of saturated fat (SAT), unsaturated fat (UNSAT) or simple sugars (CARB) for three weeks. They measured IHTG, lipolysis, DNL at baselines and during euglycemic insulinemia, insulin resistance, endotoxemia, plasma ceramides and adipose tissue gene expression. Results showed IHTG was increased 55% by saturated fat, 15% by unsaturated fat, and 33% by sugars. The sugars increased DNL, SAT increased lipolysis, while UNSAT reduced lipolysis. SAT increased insulin resistance and endotoxemia and plasma ceramides. The authors concluded that reducing saturated fat consumption may reduce IHTG and risk of type 2 diabetes.

Citation: Luukkonen, P K, Sädevirta, S, Zhou, Y, Kayser, B, Ali, A, Ahonen, L, et al. Saturated Fat Is More Metabolically Harmful for the Human Liver Than Unsaturated Fat or Simple Sugars. Diabetes Care 2018 May