Tailgating, watching sports can be hard on the body

Tailgating, watching sports can be hard on the body

During a football game, it’s not just the players’ bodies that take a beating. Being at a tailgate party or gathering in front of the TV for sports can also take its toll.

Researchers at the University of Missouri tackled the question that many people ask but few might want answered: How bad is that sports-focused ritual of eating and drinking?

They studied a group of overweight but otherwise healthy men during an afternoon of eating and drinking. What they found was somewhat unique: For some people, the body responded in a way that took stress off the liver.

The study parameters were a glutton’s dream: Enough drinks to boost blood-alcohol levels for five hours. And an average of 5,087 calories that spiked blood sugar, insulin and fat levels in the blood. Among the study participants, the biological reaction was far from identical. While half of the men showed an increase in liver fat, nearly 30% of them experienced a decrease and 5% showed no change in liver fat.

Most surprisingly, those with the elevated liver fat ate more carbohydrates but drank 90% less alcohol than the others in the study.

What does it all mean? It suggests that lifestyle and genetics can join forces to protect the body against the effects of overconsumption. For some people, it might mean that high-carbohydrate food can affect the amount of fat in the liver more than alcohol does.

Next, researchers want to further measure the effects of overeating and consuming significant quantities of alcohol in more people. As clinical tests go, these may sound a lot more fun than others, but the results are no laughing matter.

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