Science-- there's something for everyone

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For quick reduction in liver fat, limit carbs


Patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are usually advised to reduce the amount of fat in their livers via diet. Jeffrey Browning and his colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center compared two common dietary practices to see which yielded the quickest results: reducing total calories, or only reducing carbohydrates. After two weeks, patients who had limited carbs showed greater improvement than those who had limited total calories.

The researchers divided 18 people into two groups. The first group was put on a low-carb diet (less than 20 grams of carbohydrate/day), and the second on a low calorie diet (1200 calories/day for women, 1500 calories/day for men). Each group had their meals prepared by the UT Southwestern's Clinical and Translational Research Center kitchen to ensure compliance. Participants in both groups lost an average of ten pounds during the two-week trial. However, the amount of liver fat, as determined by hepatic triglyceride levels, was significantly lower in the low carb group.

Reducing carbohydrates rather than total calories is not necessarily the best diet plan for everyone. Even in this study, both diets yielded equivalent weight loss. However, based on this small study, for quick reduction in liver fat though, limiting carbs does seem to be the way to go.