Health

Mediterranean Diet May Help Reduce Liver Fat

Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet’s benefit of lowering hepatic fat may be linked to the reduction of risk factors for chronic disease.

May. 23, 2019
By Mary West

Recent News

A study found the Mediter­ranean diet (Med­Diet) was more effec­tive than a low-fat diet in reduc­ing hepatic fat (HF), which refers to liver fat.

Since ele­vated HF is linked to seri­ous dis­eases, the dis­cov­ery has impli­ca­tions for well­ness that extend far beyond liver health.

(The) Mediter­ranean/low-car­bo­hy­drate diet induced a greater decrease in hepatic fat con­tent than low-fat diet, and the ben­e­fi­cial health effects were beyond the favor­able effects of vis­ceral fat loss.- researchers on the study

The study, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Hepa­tol­ogy, exam­ined whether losses in HF related to dietary inter­ven­tions were linked to losses in vis­ceral fat, known as abdom­i­nal or belly fat.

It involved 278 par­tic­i­pants of an aver­age age of 48 with vis­ceral fat and ele­vated lipids in the blood. The indi­vid­u­als were ran­domly assigned either a Med­Diet or a low-fat diet with and with­out exer­cise for 18 months. Vis­ceral fat was mea­sured using mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing.

See more: Health News

After six and 18 months, both dietary groups had a reduc­tion in HF, which was tied to a low­er­ing of vis­ceral fat that sur­passed what would be expected due to weight loss. More­over, the Med­Diet was asso­ci­ated with a sig­nif­i­cantly greater decrease in HF and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease risk fac­tors.

Advertisement

High hepatic fat con­tent is asso­ci­ated with meta­bolic syn­drome, type two dia­betes mel­li­tus, and coro­nary heart dis­ease,” the researchers wrote. In this 18-month inter­ven­tion trial, Mediter­ranean/low-car­bo­hy­drate diet induced a greater decrease in hepatic fat con­tent than low-fat diet, and the ben­e­fi­cial health effects were beyond the favor­able effects of vis­ceral fat loss.”

Gyne­col­o­gist and fer­til­ity physi­cian Tina Koop­er­smith of West Coast Women’s Repro­duc­tive Cen­ter in Sher­man Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, did not par­tic­i­pate in the study, but told Olive Oil Times that the find­ings make sense to her since Mediter­ranean diet is not only low in fat, but also full of impor­tant nutri­ents.

The Med­Diet dif­fers from the low-fat diet in var­i­ous ways,” she said. It’s much richer in healthy monoun­sat­u­rated fats, which are present in extra vir­gin olive oil, avo­ca­dos and nuts. In addi­tion, it con­tains less sugar and refined grains than a stan­dard low-fat diet.”

HF is often seen with dys­meta­bolic syn­drome, a con­di­tion of insulin resis­tance, ele­vated blood pres­sure and pre-dia­betes,” she added. Fat in this area is also an indi­ca­tor or risk fac­tor for car­dio-meta­bolic dis­or­ders such as dia­betes and heart dis­ease.”

Results from the study sug­gest a rever­sal or improve­ment in some of the under­ly­ing eti­olo­gies of today’s com­mon dis­eases,” she con­tin­ued. For years, we have been told that we should avoid all fat in the diet because of the link between HF and cer­tain dis­or­ders, as well as the asso­ci­a­tion between ath­er­o­scle­rotic plaque and heart dis­ease. How­ever, peo­ple in France and in coun­tries that bor­der the Mediter­ranean Sea don’t avoid fat in the diet, yet they don’t have the inci­dence of chronic dis­ease that we see in the United States.”

In recent years, sci­en­tists look­ing more deeply into the Med­Diet have found that its high con­tent of healthy monoun­sat­u­rated fats and avoid­ance of refined car­bo­hy­drates seem to be asso­ci­ated with bet­ter out­comes,” she con­cluded. Research also shows that the Med­Diet is linked to lower insulin resis­tance and less depo­si­tion of fat in the liver. These effects lead to a bet­ter func­tion­ing liver with less inflam­ma­tion in the body, thus trans­lat­ing to bet­ter health.”





Related News