A University of Minnesota study is the first to show that if you eat too much fat, it can go straight to your liver and damage it. Although the study was performed on people with liver disease, it should serve as a warning that this is what can happen to people who do what the star of "Super Size Me" did: eat too darn much fat and gain a lot of weight.
In the study, which examined obese people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), fat from the diet ended up "stuck" in the liver, where it doesn't belong. It was known that the livers of NAFLD patients accumulated fat, but its origin was unknown. The new work implicates fat from the diet as one cause of NAFLD and shows that fat buildup in the liver results when the liver loses its ability to manage the various influxes of fat that occur during transitions between the fasted and fed states. Identifying the origins of accumulated fat in the livers of NAFLD patients will be important in preventing and reversing this condition, which can lead to more serious liver trouble. The work was published May 2 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.