Increased protein intake can keep fatty liver disease at bay

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Red meat, Liver
Red meat, fatty liver

Diabetics are particularly susceptible to non alcoholic fatty liver disease

Meat may not be quite the universal villain that it’s made out to be.

Increasing the amount of protein in the diet may reduce the liver’s fat content, lowering the risk of diabetes in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The study that revealed this has been published in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism.

NAFLD–sometimes referred to as a “fatty liver”–occurs when more than 5 percent of the liver’s total weight is made up of fatty tissue. Excessive fat in the liver can lead to scarring, which may increase the risk of liver cancer or liver failure. People with NAFLD are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop NAFLD.

In fact an estimated 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also have a fatty liver. Obesity is also a major risk factor for NAFLD. He study important for India because of its estimated 70 million diabetics – the highest in the world.

Prevalence of NAFLD is estimated to be around 9-32% in the general Indian population

Prevalence of NAFLD is estimated to be around 9-32% in the general Indian population, with a higher incidence rate amongst obese and diabetic patients. A 2013 study in the Journal of Association of Physicians of India found an overall prevalence of NAFLD in Indians with Type II diabetes was found to be 56.5%.

Previous studies have found that short-term protein supplementation helps reduce the fat content in the liver, but there have been few studies on the long-term effects of protein on NAFLD. Researchers conducted a two-year study to determine the long-term impact of dietary protein on a fatty liver after weight loss. This study was part of the PREVIEW study, which aims to identify the most efficient lifestyle pattern for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in a population of pre-diabetic overweight or obese individuals.

“These findings stress the clinical implications and potential benefits of increased protein intake after weight loss for people with NAFLD at risk to develop diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

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