Ready to die for fast food?

In the US, there is a snack bar called Heart Attack Grill, where you can taste most calorie-heavy hamburgers in the world. For example, there is a giant 1/2 pound, 10,000 calorie "Coronary Hotdog." The slogan of the snack bar says that it fights anorexia in the world. In fact, customers die in this bar - news reports about Heart Attack Grill customers being rushed to hospital straight from the restaurant appear in the media every now and then. The menu of the restaurant makes people faint. All clients weighing more than 160 kg receive free service at the restaurant. Interestingly, employees of the restaurant wear medial uniforms; brochures detailing consequences of malnutrition can be found on every table. However, nothing stops people from dropping by and ordering the world's most nutritious hotdog. The restaurant is very popular.It is an open secret that too much fast food causes obesity. Yet, large amounts of sugar, salt and other additives used for fast food, combined with the principle of "cheap and fast," makes them so attractive that we can not abandon them, even if we know how bad they are to us health-wise. Everybody knows that eating fast food is not healthy at all, yet, people line up for burgers and fries in many counties of the world and may even fight while standing in lines. Why is that so? 

Obesity is one of the most common risk factors of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

This fact is confirmed by numerous medical studies. For example, in 2012, specialists of the Moscow Endocrinology Research Center conducted a study to identify risk factors for abdominal obesity. Sixty-five patients aged between 30 and 50 years, with a waist size bigger than 80 centimeters took part in the study. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease was confirmed for 62 (!) of the patients; fibrotic changes in the liver were found in 50 patients. Two had cirrhosis.

According to WHO, Russia is on the 16th place on the number of overweight people. Every second Russian weighs above normal. In Russia, obesity is related not only to foreign fast food, but also to traditionally Russian culinary customs. Most Russians like to put a lot of mayonnaise in their salads. Others love fried potatoes with meat, pickled cucumbers, smoked sausages, pies and pancakes (bliny). Noteworthy, there is no coherent state policy to promote healthy eating. In Finland, where risks of death from heart attack used to be too high, the authorities responded to the wake-up call on time. Finnish authorities started rewarding the farmers who, were growing black currant instead of pigs. In Russia, carbohydrates still rule. 

In developed countries, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects one in three adults. This is one of the most common diseases in hepatology. One of the main causes of the disease is the systematic abuse of fatty, fried and smoked foods containing large amounts of spices and sugar. Fatty liver disease affects people with excess body weight in 50-90 percent of cases, depending on the degree of obesity.

Which country is the fattest in the world? 

But if you look at the leaders of the list, the connection with the habit of unhealthy eating is obvious. The first two places belong to Pacific island nations of Samoa and Kiribati. Ninety percent of the people living in those countries are obese. Imports of tons of fast food, canned foods, refined sugar and carbonated drinks were launched for those countries in the middle of the last century. The newly imported products ousted the traditional food of the islanders. As a result, nine out of ten residents of Samoa, including children, are overweight today. The third place on the list of the world's fattest countries is proudly taken by the United States of America. As many as 67 percent of Americans suffer from problems associated with obesity. 

Too much of fried, smoked, salted or sweet food makes the liver accumulate fat. When the amount of fat in the liver exceeds all acceptable norms, inflammation develops, and healthy cells begin to be replaced with useless connective tissue. Thus, the fat destroys the structure of the liver. So-called scars appear instead of working hepatocytes. If no timely measures are taken, cirrhosis develops. To identify the disease at an early stage and prevent its development, overweight people are recommended to undergo the procedure of biochemical analysis of their blood at least once a year. All possible preventive measures, such as, for example, diet and sports are highly recommended as well.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov