Curbing Carbs More Effective Than Cutting Calories to Reduce Liver Fat

According to researchers, cutting down on carbs works more effectively than restricting calories for people wanting to reduce liver fat quickly.

What this study tells us is that if your doctor says that you need to reduce the amount of fat in your liver, you can do something within a month.

The results could have implications for the treatment of several conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD affects as much as a third of American adults, and can result in inflammation of the liver, cirrhosis as well as liver cancer.

The researchers assigned eighteen individuals having NAFLD to eat either a low-calorie or a low-carbohydrate diet for two weeks.

The individuals given the low-carb diet restricted their carb intake for the 1st week to under twenty grams daily – roughly the same as a half a cup of egg noodles or a small banana. For the last week, they changed to frozen meals which matched their personal food preferences, energy needs and carb intake.

Individuals given the low-calorie diet carried on with their normal diet and kept a food diary for the 4 days before the study. The researchers then made use of these individual records for preparing all meals throughout the two week study. They limited the total amount of calories to approximately 1,500 daily for the male participants and ,200 daily for the females.

After fourteen days, advanced imaging techniques were used to analyze how much liver fat each person had. The researchers found that the individuals on the low-carb diet lost more liver fat.

Even though the study wasn’t meant to establish which diet was better for weight loss, both the low-carbohydrate dieters and the low-calorie dieters lost an average of 10 pounds.

The results don’t explain why individuals on the low-carb diet saw a greater reduction in liver fat, and weight loss, irrespective of the approach, happens to be the best way to reduce liver fat.

What’s Really Making You Fat Infographic

What’s Really Making You Fat Infographic

References: DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.007674