People who eat a lot of animal protein may be more likely to have excessive fat in their livers and a higher risk of liver disease than individuals whose main source of protein is vegetables, a Dutch study suggests.
Researchers focused on what’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is usually associated with obesity and certain eating habits. While dietary changes are recommended to treat this type of liver disease, research to date hasn’t clearly demonstrated whether these changes can work for prevention.
For the current study, researchers examined data from dietary questionnaires and liver fat scans for 3,882 adults who were 70 years old on average. Scans showed 1,337 participants, or 34 percent had NAFLD, including 132 individuals who were a healthy weight and 1,205 who were overweight.
Overweight people who ate the most animal protein were 54 percent more likely to have fatty liver than individuals who consumed less meat, the analysis found.