Restricted Diet Lowers Triglycerides in Fatty Liver

More significant triglyceride reduction with carbohydrate restriction than calorie restriction

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Restricted intake of carbohydrates or calories for two weeks significantly reduces hepatic triglycerides in individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study published in the May issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Jeffrey D. Browning, M.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of a two-week dietary carbohydrate and calorie restriction at reducing hepatic triglycerides in 18 individuals with NAFLD. The participants were an average of 45 years old and had an average body mass index of 35 kg/m². Participants' hepatic triglycerides were measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy before and after consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet of less than 20 g/day or a calorie-restricted diet of 1,200 to 1,500 kcal/day for two weeks.

The investigators found that the average weight loss was similar in both groups, and was associated with a significant decrease in liver triglycerides. This decrease was more significant in individuals in the carbohydrate-restricted intervention (−55±14 percent) than the calorie-restricted intervention (−28±23 percent). Dietary fat, carbohydrate, post-treatment plasma ketones, and respiratory quotient were all significantly correlated with a decrease in liver triglycerides. A significant decrease in plasma aspartate aminotransferase, but not alanine aminotransferase, was seen after weight loss.

"Two weeks of dietary intervention (~4.3 percent weight loss) reduced hepatic triglycerides by ~42 percent in subjects with NAFLD; however, reductions were significantly greater with dietary carbohydrate restriction than with calorie restriction," the authors write.

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