Dieting and checking calories is a norm in today’s world. It is considered necessary to not only lose the extra pounds but maintain the weight. For this purpose, several types of diets which promise different outcomes have emerged.
Some of those diets have gained considerable popularity and have been taking up by a good number of health or fitness bloggers as well as celebrities. Majority of the people looking to stay in shape or lose weight are well-acquainted with low carbohydrate diet.
A low-carbohydrate diet involves cutting down on potatoes, bread, pasta and other carb-rich foods, sometimes almost completely. While it has been seen to work for a lot of people, researchers have also discovered the other health benefits it has to offer.
In accordance with researchers, two weeks of carbohydrate-restricted diet can improve markers of cardio-metabolic health and help in reducing liver fat in people suffering from the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (NAFLD)
The study was led by Adil Mardinoglu from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden along with other researchers. The results of the research were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a health condition where an excessive amount of fat is accumulated in the liver of the patient. It is not like the alcoholic fatty disease because it is not caused by extreme alcohol consumption.
How many people suffer from this condition? The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has been seen to affect 30-40 percent of the adult population in the US. This makes it one of the most commonly diagnosed liver conditions in the country.
The leading causes of the disease are obesity and related health problems such as type 2 diabetes. Around 30-90 percent of the obese people have been observed to have the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The main treatment of the disease typically involves making major lifestyle changes especially alterations in diet and physical activity. The reduction of fats in the diet is mandatory and suggested by most doctors.
The recent study suggests cutting down carbohydrates in the diets can also be beneficial and may be an effective treatment for the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The researchers conducting the study looked at ten adults. All of the participating adults suffered from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and were obese.
They were given an isocaloric diet which had a lower amount of carbohydrates but a high amount of protein for a period of two weeks.
Normally, an isocaloric diet consists of equal amounts of proteins, fats, or carbohydrates. Mardinoglu and the team focused specifically on how the changes in the daily intake affected the accumulated fat in the liver as well as other metabolic processes.
After a period of fourteen days, the team discovered that not only did the dietary interventions improve liver metabolism but also led to a great reduction in the liver fat.
The researchers also found that a lesser amount of carbohydrate in the daily diet caused a decrease in inflammatory markers specifically tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6. Both of these have been seen to increase the severity of NAFLD.
In addition to all these effects, a low-carbohydrate diet also affected the gut microbiota or the ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. These changes in the microbiota increased the levels of folate in the body, which in turn improved liver metabolism.
It was concluded that an isocaloric low-carbohydrate diet may lead to a good number of metabolic benefits in people who are obese and suffering from the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
However, the researchers also said that the methodology may not be applicable to all cases of the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Where this diet helped participants of the study, it might not work that well for all other people who are obese and have NAFLD.
Further research into the topic may lead to alternative and better treatment for the non-alcoholic fatty disease in the future.