A leading liver specialist at Saint Louis University has said that people on a fast food diet can reverse the damage caused to the liver by simply shunning their bad food habits.
Dr Brent Tetri, professor of internal medicine at the Saint Louis University Liver Center and one of the country's leading experts on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease suggested that staying physically active and a change in diet can reverse the damage caused.
"There's strong evidence now that a fast-food type of diet - high in fat and sugar, the kind of diet many Americans subsist on - can cause significant damage to your liver and have extremely serious consequences for your health," said Tetri.
"The good news is that most people can undo this damage if they change their diet and they keep physically active. If they don't, however, they are asking for trouble," he added.
Last year Tetri conducted a study using a mouse model where he examined the effects of a diet that mimicked a typical fast-food meal, on mice.
The diet was 40 percent fat and replete with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener common in soda and some fruit juices. The mice were also kept sedentary, mimicking the lifestyle of millions of Americans.
He found that within four weeks, the mice showed an increase in liver enzymes, a key indicator of liver damage, and the beginnings of glucose intolerance, a marker for type II diabetes.
Another study by Swedish researchers, involved 18 healthy and slim adults who ate fast food and restricted their physical activity for a month.
The findings showed an average weight gain of 12 pounds and, within as little as a week, a sharp rise in liver enzymes.
However, Tetri did emphasize that fast food per se doesn't causes liver damage, the harm comes from eating too many calories and too much fat and sugar.
"The big issue here is caloric content. You can put away 2,000 calories in a single fast-food meal pretty easily. For most people, that's more calories than they need in an entire day," he said.
The four simple steps to reverse damage from fast food are-:
1.Limiting yourself to one fast-food meal a week.
2. Eating as healthily as possible such as trying the burger without mayo and cheese, and avoid fries and sugary soft drinks
3. Stay physically active as a regular exercise helps keep your weight down and also helps your body better metabolize and process the food you eat.
4. It is also necessary to get a blood test done to check the level of liver enzymes, a key measure of the health of your liver, especially kids who eat a lot of fast food especially need to have their liver enzymes checked.
"Even for those people with the worst kind of diets, it's not too late to start exercising and eating right," Tetri added.