Health  

High consumption of red, processed meat causes insulin resistance, liver disease

Red Meat Credit: www.comercarne.com

World meat consumption has increased during the last decades, and evidence is mounting that high consumption of red and mainly processed meat is unhealthy to humans and is related to chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

A new study published in the Journal of Hepatology adds non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to the list.

“NAFLD is considered as the hepatic component of the metabolic syndrome, with insulin resistance and inflammation as key factors in its pathophysiology,” explained lead investigator Prof. Shira Zelber-Sagi, RD, PhD, from the School of Public Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel.

“Unhealthy Western lifestyle plays a major role in the development and progression of NAFLD, namely, lack of physical activity and high consumption of fructose and saturated fat.

Our study looked at other common foods in the Western diet, namely red and processed meats, to determine whether they increase the risk for NAFLD.”

In order to test the association of type of meat and cooking method with NAFLD and insulin resistance, investigators undertook a cross-sectional study among individuals 40-70 years old who underwent screening colonoscopy at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Tel Aviv Medical Center, and who agreed to participate in a metabolic and hepatic screening study between 2013 and 2015.

Meanwhile, a hydrogel invented at Rice University that is adept at helping the body heal may also be particularly good at treating wounds related to diabetes.

The Rice lab of chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink reported this week that tests on diabetic animal models showed the injectable hydrogel significantly accelerated wound healing compared with another hydrogel often used in clinics.

The study appeared this week in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

The multidomain peptide (MDP) hydrogel known by its amino acid sequence — K2(SL)6K2 — has in a recent study proven useful for the timed release of immunotherapy drugs.

It has also been shown to encourage healing all by itself.

That quality may be useful for people with diabetes mellitus who often develop chronic wounds in their lower extremities that take longer to heal than normal wounds.

The researchers reported that Rice’s MDP hydrogel significantly accelerated the healing of wounds in genetically diabetic rodents. Treatment led to wound closure in 14 days, the formation of thick granulation tissue, including dense growth of blood vessels and nerve cells, and the regeneration of hair follicles.

They compared their results with a control group treated with a commercial hydrogel that required twice as long to reach the same degree of wound closure.

Meanwhile, NAFLD and insulin resistance were evaluated by ultrasonography and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Meat type and cooking method were measured by food frequency and detailed meat consumption questionnaires.

Unhealthy cooking methods were characterized as frying or grilling to a level of well done or very well done.

These methods produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are pro-inflammatory compounds, and their intake was also calculated.

After excluding some of the participants due to factors such as viral liver disease and alcohol abuse, close to 800 subjects were included in the main analysis, of whom a sub-sample of 357 subjects completed the meat questionnaire.

NAFLD was diagnosed in 38.7 percent of participants and insulin resistance in 30.5 percent.

In this article:
Liver disease
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