When losing weight destroys the liver: what to eat to protect this vital organ

The bariatric surgeries, better known as slimming surgeries or weight loss surgeries, are increasingly known and used in western countries that suffer, as is the case in Spain, high rates of obesity.

In preparation for this type of surgery, a very restrictive diet is indicated, in order to facilitate the intervention. However, it is not only the before, but also the after: the type of diet that is carried out after the intervention can make a difference not only to maintain the weight lost, but to maintain general health.

This is suggested by a new work published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, which has been set not only on the success of this type of surgery, but in how protect liver health after the operation.

In the United States, more than 42% of adults suffer from obesity, in compared to 14.5% in Spain; however in our country overweight already amounts to 38.5% of the adult population. In both cases, it is known that there is an increased risk of suffering from other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and various types of cancer.

In the case of the United States, and according to data from the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, around 256,000 people underwent bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery throughout 2019. 80% of these patients, the institution points out, are women.

This type of surgery has multiple benefits Beyond the obvious weight loss: better glucose tolerance, better cholesterol levels, and better overall cardiovascular health. However, men and women do not respond the same .

As the researchers responsible for the study indicate, there are indications that the sex affects the degree of weight loss and improvements in cardiometabolic health aspects after bariatric surgery.

To demonstrate this, the researchers carried out a study with mice, in which they performed procedures such as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a type of bariatric surgery where the stomach is reduced to 15% of its original size.

After the procedure, some mice continued on high-fat diets such as those carried out prior to surgery, while others carried out a low calorie, low fat diet.

Based on their findings, both male and female mice showed weight loss, better glucose tolerance, and lower level of body fat, even in cases where they followed high-fat diets. However, males had a greater decrease in liver fat or liver fat compared to females.

In fact, male mice obtained improvements in their triglycerides or liver fats regardless of diet, while in the case of females, only those that followed a low-calorie diet showed significant improvements.

Therefore, the researchers suggest that in the In the case of women who undergo bariatric surgery, it would be advisable to maintain a low-fat, low-calorie diet afterwards to the intervention, in order to maintain the benefits of surgery, especially when it comes to the liver.

The accumulation of visceral fat in the liver, a fundamental organ for purifying this excess that can collapse, is directly related to the increase in fatty liver disease, which is reaching epidemic levels in societies with a greater implantation of ultra-processed foods.

Likewise, they also highlight the importance of post-surgery dietary advice, both in men and women, but focusing especially on the latter, according to the findings of the current study. Even so, it should be noted that the study was carried out in mice, and it would be necessary to continue research in humans to corroborate and clarify all the findings.


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