Eating Just One High-Fat Meal Can Damage Your Metabolism


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Healthy eaters and regular exercisers who think a cheat meal is no big deal should take caution.
Studies show that having just one high-fat meal can greatly damage your metabolism.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that consuming a large amount of palm oil — a common oil used in the fast food industry —  can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin and cause increased fat deposits. This excess oil also changes the energy metabolism of the liver, and in the long term these changes can cause both overweight people and those with type 2 diabetes to develop fatty liver disease.

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“The surprise was that a single dosage of palm oil has such a rapid and direct impact on the liver of a healthy person and that the amount of fat administered already triggered insulin resistance,” explained Dr. Michael Roden, scientist, Managing Director and Chairman at the DDZ and the German Center for Diabetes Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung, DZD).

Researchers conducted their study on healthy, slim men who were randomly given a flavored palm oil drink or a glass of water. The fat content of the palm oil drink was the equivalent a 100-gram cheeseburger and a large order of french fries.

Related: Vegetable Oils May Cause Fatigue, Migraines and Dementia

This single high-fat meal caused insulin resistance and increased the liver’s fat content. Also, the energy balance of the liver was changed. It became similar to the type of changes that are seen in people with type 2 diabetes, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The most common liver disease in most industrial nations, NAFLD is linked with obesity and associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Advanced stages of NAFLD can develop into severe liver damage.

Insulin resistance in the body leads to an increased amount of sugar that forms in the liver and a decreased amount of sugar absorption in the skeletal muscles. This is what makes glucose levels rise in people with type 2 diabetes and its early stages.

Scientists involved in the study say that relatively healthy people can easily manage this direct impact of fatty food on their metabolism if they regularly make smart nutritious food choices. Regular eaters of this high-fat diet, however, could have problematic health issues in the future.

Related: Try These 6 Tricks to Kickstart Your Metabolism