Cutting down on pasta, potatoes, and other such carbohydrate-rich foods has become a popular plan for weight loss. However, according to a new study, a carb-restricted diet may offer other health benefits.
Researchers found that just 2 weeks of a carb-restricted diet reduced levels of liver fat and improved other markers of cardiometabolic health in a small number of individuals living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Study co-author Adil Mardinoglu, from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and team recently published their results in the journal Cell Metabolism.
NAFLD is a condition characterized by an excess accumulation of fat in the liver. Unlike alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD is not caused by heavy alcohol consumption.
Obesity and related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, are major risk factors for NAFLD. The condition has been identified in around 30–90 percent of people who are obese.
Adopting a healthful diet is considered key for treating NAFLD, and doctors normally recommend reducing the intake of fats.
The new study, however, suggests that lowering the consumption of carbohydrates could be another treatment strategy for NAFLD.
Liver fat metabolism improved
Mardinoglu and his colleagues enrolled 10 adults, all of whom were obese and had NAFLD, to their study.
For 2 weeks, the participants were put on an isocaloric diet that was restricted in carbohydrates but increased in protein. An isocaloric diet is one wherein the same amount of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats are consumed every day.
The team assessed how the dietary intervention affected the liver fat, as well as other metabolic responses, of the study participants.