Not many of us think about fatty liver disease. In fact, most of us make the assumption that only alcohol and drugs contribute to this disease. Fatty liver disease is increasing because of the Western diet, which includes highly processed foods, fast food, and sugary drinks. However, a precursor to this disease is an increase in obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and liver inflammation. In 2004, to prove this epidemic, Morgan Spurlock created a highly controversial documentary called Super Size Me. In it, he chronicled his month-long journey, consuming only McDonald’s food and the effect it had on him.
When we choose convenience with food, we typically sacrifice our health. At first, the impact is unnoticeable. Yet, as time goes, on our body becomes less equipped to handle the nutritional deficiencies offered by convenience. Over a period of 30 days, Morgan watched himself change. His body mass increased by 13%, his cholesterol spiked, he experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and a staggering increase in his liver enzymes. All that from convenience food!
Unfortunately, just because food available to purchase it does not mean it is good for you. While it probably tastes very good, that does not make it good for your body. We must stop equating good taste and convenience with healthy. Fast food companies and processed food manufacturers are in business to make money. That means they must sell. To do that means convincing you to purchase the food they make with creative advertising, gimmicky promotions, convenience, and attractive prices. What we choose to eat is up to us.
Most alarming to Morgan and his doctors was the effect this diet had on his liver. Often, fatty liver disease has no symptoms. However, it is common for a person to have insulin resistance, extra weight, and type 2 diabetes. These should be viewed as symptoms. Regular eating of a Western diet increases the likelihood of developing fatty liver disease. Morgan’s diet created an overabundance of fat cells in his liver which then began to leak into his bloodstream. The speed at which this happened to his liver concerned his doctors because many Americans eat a Western diet every day.
It is time to stop making excuses as to why we need that donut or why we need to hit the drive-thru. It should not matter what advertisements say to us or what the latest promotion is. We need to value our health more than we value saving a dollar. The obesity trend can be reversed, but it is up to each individual to do our part.