People who fly frequently have the same risk of developing cancer as those who are grossly overweight, according to new research.

Jet lag has been found to dramatically increase the risk of developing liver cancer because it increases the levels of bile acid in the liver. This leads to a build up which is usually seen in the organs of people who are obese.

The study suggested that the increase in people jetting across the world could be the reason for soaring rates of liver cancer across the globe.

Carried out by Baylor College of Medicine, the study adds to a growing body of evidence which suggests that interupting your circadian rhythm, better known as a the body clock, could have potentially fatal consequences.

In the last four decades, the number of people suffering from the most common type of liver cancer has gone up three-fold. While it was already widely known that obesity increased the risk, jet lag could be just as much of a risk factor.

Frequent flying wreaks havoc on our central clock as we travel through different time zones or push ourselves to stay awake for long periods.

Researchers carried out tests on lab mice, who were fed a healthy diet, but who lived in conditions when the lights went on and off during the night each week, mirroring the effects of chronic jet lag, or working irregular shifts.

The team discovered that the mice put on weight, developing fatty liver disease and chronic inflammation. In some cases, this led to liver cancer.