The combination of a “Western diet” and binge drinking – the cause of looming liver disease?

Liver diseases are widely underestimated but are increasing worldwide. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) are the most prevalent ones. Typically, both result in steatosis (abnormal retention of fat) and inflammation with progression to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure. In the past, it was associated with chronic excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages but there is evidence that binge drinking can also result in liver dysfunction.

These reviews looked at the increased binge drinking and the global adaptation of a high fat and high sugar Western diet and tried to answer the question about the interplay of binge drinking and poor diet.

The authors conclude that the hepatic consequences of consuming a Western diet and persistent binge drinking cannot be overlooked. The existing data suggest the potential for a looming liver disease epidemic culminating in early-onset cirrhosis. It is imperative that the scientists begin to investigate the potential dangers of this often-overlooked combination.

Skinner RC, Hagaman JA. The interplay of Western diet and binge drinking on the onset, progression, and outlook of liver disease. Nutr Rev. 2021 May 9:nuab031. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuab031. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33969426.

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