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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Fatty Liver Disease

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Fatty Liver Disease and Colorectal Cancer

Colon Cancer and Fatty Liver Disease

Obesity is a rampant and growing problem in the United States. Currently 40 percent of the adult population are obese. Obesity is also the leading cause of fatty liver disease. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is emerging as the most common chronic liver disease and can result in liver damage and even failure. Fatty liver is the leading cause of liver transplants in women and major cause of same in men.  Inflammation and oxidative stress are the major risk factors involved in fatty liver disease. For prevention and to manage the disease, lifestyle interventions and diet are the greatest measures to take.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women, and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Risk factors for colon cancer include genetic predispositions, such as personal or family history of colon cancer or colorectal polyps, or lifestyle factors, including poor diet and obesity. The most effective way to reduce the risk of colon cancer is to get screened routinely, beginning at age 45. Individuals however can also protect themselves from the risk of colon cancer by following a healthy lifestyle. People who are obese are about 30% more likely to develop colorectal cancer than normal-weight people. A higher BMI is associated with increased risk of colon cancer in both men and women, making diet and exercise a major protocol for those looking to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Diet also significantly influences the development of colon cancer.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern traditional to Greece, Italy, and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This diet has gained large popularity for its effect on weight loss, heart health, and various cancers including colon cancer. This diet has ranked #1 by the U.S News and World Report annual ranking of best diets year after year.

This widely adopted diet is rich in plant-based foods, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts seeds, fruits and vegetables. It also incorporates a heavy emphasis on unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and red wine in moderation. Fish and poultry are the main sources of protein, and red meat and other saturated fats are mostly eliminated or consumed in small amounts. Low fat dairy is also favored. The diet focuses on cutting out processed and ultra-processed foods, defined as any food that has been chemically modified, such as frozen or ready meals, packaged breads, breakfast cereals, and reconstituted meats like cold cuts and sausage.

This blend of foods is high in various bioactive compounds and antioxidants that allow its positive influence on many health factors. Inflammatory bowel diseases known to predispose to colon cancer, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are greatly reduced by the anti-inflammatory effects of the foods in the Mediterranean diet.

A study published n GUT 2021 (Direct-Plus clinical trial) found that forms of the Meditteranean diet may reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by as much as 50%. The diet, along with the regular consumption of green tea, reduces liver fat more than other diets tested during the study. Out of 294 adults with abdominal obesity, this diet allowed the greatest reduction of liver fat, at 39% compared to the 12% in individuals following standard nutritional counseling.

The diet is also proven to be the most effective amongst many others in terms of prevention of obesity and obesity related diseases. Refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, high calorie intake and foods with poor nutritional status that lead to obesity are all eliminated in the Mediterranean Diet, allowing it to aid in weight loss and the prevention of these obesity related diseases.

The Mediterranean Diet, rich in polyunsaturated fats, polyphenols, vitamins and carotenoids, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, suggested to prevent cardiovascular, fatty liver, and colon cancer risk factors. It also aids in weight management, the main risk factor for all the listed diseases. For these reasons, the Mediterranean Diet is highly recommended to all individuals, especially those concerned with weight loss, colorectal cancer, fatty liver and cardiovascular disease.








Meir eta al, Direct Plus Study GUT 2021




Tayvi Papitto

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