Liver disease: the silent epidemic - New Scientist
I'm afraid I have to disagree fundamentally with the main assertion in this New Scientist article. My comments will follow after the following extract from the article:
"There's more than one way to destroy your liver - and excessive eating is fast becoming the number one culprit
PETE had a truly awful Christmas. A few weeks earlier he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and the news was still sinking in while all around him the alcohol-fuelled festivities were in full swing. "I don't even drink," he told the specialist incredulously when given the diagnosis. Surely only hardened alcoholics get cirrhosis?
In November, feeling tired and washed-out, he had gone to see his doctor. Apart from being overweight he seemed to be in good health. Yet blood tests indicated he was anaemic and an endoscopy revealed a burst blood vessel in his gullet, a sign of cirrhosis, the final stage of liver disease. Weeks later Pete's abdomen swelled alarmingly as it filled with fluid - another sign - and a liver biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. He was only 35. "
It is, of course, correct that cirrhosis of the liver does not develop only in hardened alcoholics, though that is the impression we tend to get because that is mostly what is conveyed to us by health professionals. This article suggests that the cause is overeating. - It isn't. - The main and often exclusive cause is fluid retention and the salt sensitivity that results in the fluid retention. - The fluid retention causes obesity, which could also be said to be the cause of the liver disease. - But obesity is NOT caused by overeating. - That is the point.
The way to protect the liver from this grave illness is to avoid dieting and to minimise salt/sodium intake because this minimises the fluid retention and results in swift, safe weight reduction as some of the excess fluid is excreted from the body.
The liver is also damaged by having to metabolise medications, so it is best to avoid taking prescribed or over the counter drugs if they are not really necessary.
Obesity is not caused by overeating. It is caused by fluid retention, which in turn is usually caused by sodium retention. The blood vessels become distended with extra sodium and the water it attracts to itself. There is no evidence to support the calorie theory about obesity. - And reducing calories does not reduce obesity. - Reducing salt intake DOES reduce obesity because it reduces the fluid retention by enabling the body to excrete excess salt and water in the urine.
Calorie counting and advice about increasing exercise and reducing fat intake to reduce obesity are ineffective, counter-productive and often damaging. - See the article in the British Medical Journal of November 2003 BMJ article for actual research on what happens when this advice is followed! - Over 800 obese adults were put on energy deficit diets, given diet sheets and plenty of instruction and help from trained staff, and apparently, visited fortnightly for a year, at the end of which they had GAINED weight! This mirrors the real experience of obese people, viz. - dieting makes you fat.
It is commonly accepted now, except by the 'experts', that less than 5% of dieters actually lose weight, and most gain weight as a result of dieting. - Even the ones who manage to lose weight do not usually improve their health. - See Guardian article for a report in The Guardian of Monday, June 27th 2005. It is about a huge research study of nearly 3000 people over a period of 18 years. The study found that overweight people who diet to reach a healthier weight are more likely to die young than those who remain fat. It also found that dieting causes physiological damage that in the long term can outweigh the benefits of the weight loss.
See http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/conditions.html for the many health problems that will be ameliorated by salt reduction.
Lose weight by eating less salt! Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better! See my website http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/ (The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.)
The first 'Anonymous' has added a comment below this post, saying "I consume more salt than any other person I know, I occationally just pour some in my hand and eat it. I weight 145lbs @ 5'10 and depending on the day can be at body fat percentage that is just below the healthy minimum. Explain that." - Well I am not able to add a comment myself because of a technical problem, but the answer to Anonymous is that only people who are sensitive to salt become overweight/obese and suffer from fluid retention, so obviously Anonymous is not sensitive to salt and that is why he is slim and can eat lots of salt without gaining weight. He has good strong healthy veins that are strong enough to resist becoming swollen with excess salt and the water attendant on it.
Slim people are slim because they have healthy veins and kidneys and are not sensitive to salt.
The second 'Anonymous' comment asks if there is something other than salt in the diet that is causing the weak veins and the salt sensitivity and the answer is that there are many prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that cause weak veins and salt sensitivity. If Japanese people take fewer prescribed pharmaceutical drugs than people in the western world then they are much less likely to become obese. Pharmaceutical drugs are a major cause of obesity, especially of morbid obesity, so people who value their health would be wise to avoid taking prescribed pharmaceuticals unless there is very good reason to do so. See my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection