Plant-based diets could benefit people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

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Scientists from AHEPA University Hospital and elsewhere found that plant-based diets could help people manage the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most frequent liver disease globally.

It is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are types of NAFLD.

If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver damage, along with fat in your liver.

Usually, NAFLD is a silent disease with few or no symptoms. Certain health conditions and diseases—including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes—make you more likely to develop NAFLD.

People with NAFLD are at an increased risk of both liver and heart death, as well as all-cause death.

NAFLD prevalence is increasing worldwide quickly, and there is an urgent need for health policies to stop its development and complications.

Currently, there is no drug therapy for this disease, and lifestyle interventions remain the first-line treatment option.

Doctors recommend weight loss and eating a healthy diet to treat the disease. Weight loss can reduce fat, inflammation, and fibrosis in the liver.

In the current review, researchers discussed the effects of certain diets on NAFLD development.

They found the Mediterranean diet is regarded as the diet of choice for the prevention/ treatment of NAFLD and its complications, based on the available evidence.

Other plant-based dietary patterns (low in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, red and processed meats) are also beneficial, including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and vegetarian/vegan diets.

The team suggests more findings are needed to establish the role of ketogenic, intermittent fasting, and paleo diets in NAFLD.

Nevertheless, there is no “one-size-fits-all” dietary intervention for managing this disease.

The researchers suggest that doctors should discuss with their patients and recommend the diet that each patient prefers and is able to implement in his/her daily life.

The research was published in Clin Investig Arterioscler and conducted by Niki Katsiki et al.

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