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Efficacy of Dietary Manipulations for Depleting Intrahepatic Triglyceride Content: Implications for the Management of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Understanding the effects of dietary manipulations on intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) balance will have important implications for the prevention and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Recent Findings

Reducing calorie intake to induce weight loss is the most potent intervention to decrease IHTG. Carbohydrate restriction during the initial stages of weight loss may be particularly beneficial, but at later stages, the amount of weight loss predominates over diet composition. By contrast, during weight stability, restricting calories from fat seems to be optimal for depleting liver fat. The degree of dietary fat saturation and the glycemic index of the carbohydrate have inconsistent effects on IHTG. Recently, the matrix of some foods (e.g., dairy) has been inversely associated with NAFLD.

Summary

Dietary macronutrients differ in their effects on liver fat depending on the energy balance and the matrix of the food in which they are consumed. Therefore, investigations into dietary approaches for managing NAFLD should shift their perspective from that of isolated nutrients to that of whole foods and diets and include useful mechanistic insights.

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Abbreviations

NAFLD:

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

IHTG:

Intrahepatic triglyceride

BMI:

Body mass index

GI:

Glycemic index

PUFA:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

SFA:

Saturated fatty acids

MUFA:

Monounsaturated fatty acids

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Correspondence to Faidon Magkos.

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Dr Grønbæk has received research grants from Abbvie, Intercept, ADS AIPHIA Development Services AG, the NOVO Nordisk Foundation, and Arla Food for Health. Drs Geiker and Magkos have received research grants from Arla Food for Health (also used to fund Mrs Sandby’s PhD studentship).

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Sandby, K., Geiker, N.R.W., Dalamaga, M. et al. Efficacy of Dietary Manipulations for Depleting Intrahepatic Triglyceride Content: Implications for the Management of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Curr Obes Rep 10, 125–133 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-021-00430-4

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Keywords

  • Diet composition
  • Energy balance
  • Food matrix
  • Macronutrients
  • NAFLD
  • Weight loss