Eating a lot of processed meat is bad as It increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance, according to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

These results add to the increasing amount of evidence on the harmful effects of eating red and processed meats. Previous studies have found that red and processed meat consumption is linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. (Related: Deadly combination: How type 2 diabetes may increase your chances of contracting liver disease.)

The study, conducted by a team of researchers in Israel, evaluated the association of meat type and cooking method with NAFLD and insulin resistance. The team carried out a cross-sectional study in people between 40 and 70 years old who underwent colonoscopy screening at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Tel Aviv Medical Center. The participants also underwent a metabolic and hepatic screening study between 2013 and 2015.

They analyzed NAFLD and insulin resistance through ultrasonography and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). They also measured the type of meat and method of cooking through food frequency and detailed meat consumption questionnaires. Unhealthy cooking methods were categorized as frying or grilling to a level of well done or very well done. These methods produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which induce inflammation, and their intake was also measured.

Results showed that 38.7 percent of the participants were diagnosed with NAFLD, and 30.5 percent tested positive for insulin resistance. Those who consumed high amounts of meat were slightly younger, mostly male, had a higher body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, and a worse metabolic profile.

The findings of the study indicated that high intake of red and processed meat is linked to NAFLD and insulin resistance. Additionally, participants who consumed large amounts of meat cooked using unhealthy methods and those already diagnosed with NAFLD who consumed high HCAs were more likely to have insulin resistance.

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