Metabolic Health service

Beyond weight loss in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the role of carbohydrate restriction

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2021 Apr 16. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000762.

Purpose of review: The low fat diet (LFD) is currently the first choice to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) alongside with physical activity. However, with an increase in popularity of low carbohydrate diets (LCDs) and ketogenic diets have impacted in reducing intra-liver triglyceride content (which allows the liver to become less fatty).

Recent findings:  The further restriction of carbohydrates to less than 50 g/day, usually leading to ketosis, confirmed to produce an improvement in NAFLD, with very low-calorie ketogenic diets possibly proving particularly beneficial thanks to the significant weight loss that can be obtained.

Summary: NAFLD is becoming a huge problem within the US population, with current projections increasing to 100 million cases by 2030. (That is a 1/3rd of the current USA population!). There are no drugs or procedures to help reverse fatty liver disease process, which will eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and/or liver failure. (You cannot live without your liver!) Now there is evidence that shows with carbohydrate restriction (less than 50g/day) plays a fundamental role in improving NAFLD compared with LFDs. The hepatoprotective role of carbohydrate restriction appears to be boosted when ketogenesis (ketones) is induced, when the total calorie intake is extremely reduced, or, possibly, when dietary interventions have reduced content in free sugars, making such interventions valuable tools to deal with NAFLD.

Do you have a fatty liver, know someone who suffers from fatty liver disease, or you want to find out how to get back on the road to optimal health schedule your appointment with Live Ignite Thrive Medical today!

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Adam Weldzius, NP