The amount of fat in your liver may be a key indicator of whether or not you develop diabetes, according to the findings of a new study.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine say that an excessively fatty liver can lead to insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol levels and other factors that up a persons risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Samuel Klein, lead investigator, said that the findings suggest previous evidence linking risk to body shape may be out of touch.
“Abdominal fat is not the best marker for risk. It appears liver fat is the real marker,” he explained.
The scientists compared the health of two groups of obese adolescents – those who had fatty livers and those who did not.
After controlling for other factors, they found that young people with excess liver fat tended to have abnormal glucose levels and other metabolic problems, while the other group did not suffer from these issues.
“The only thing that consistently predicts metabolic derangements is fat in the liver,” Klein commented.
Having a fatty liver may also increase the risk of developing cirrhosis.