Alternate day fasting could benefit people with fatty liver disease

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In a study from the University of Illinois Chicago, scientists found that people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease who followed an alternate-day fasting diet and exercised were able to improve their health.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol.

It is normal for the liver to contain some fat.

However, if more than 5% – 10% percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a fatty liver (steatosis). Using healthy lifestyles to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is critically needed.

In the current study, researchers compared the effects of alternate-day fasting (ADF) combined with exercise to fasting alone or exercise alone, on liver fat.

They tested adults with obesity and NAFLD who were assigned to 1 of 4 groups for 3 months:

Combination of ADF (600 kcal/2,500 kJ “fast day” alternated with an ad libitum intake “feast day”) and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (5 sessions per week, 60 min/session); ADF alone; exercise alone; or a no-intervention control group.

After three months, the team found fatty liver was strongly reduced in the combination group, compared with the exercise group and the control group but was not strongly different versus the ADF group.

The researchers also found body weight, body fat, waist circumference, and biomarkers of the liver disease strongly decreased.

But insulin sensitivity strongly increased in the combination group compared with the control group.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that combining intermittent fasting with exercise is effective for reducing liver fat in people with NAFLD but may offer no additional benefit versus fasting alone.

The study was conducted by Krista Varady et al and published in Cell Metabolism.

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