According to a new nutritional study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) on individuals with type 2 diabetes, high-protein diets reduced liver fat by up to 48 percent within six weeks. It did not matter whether the diet was mainly based on plant or animal protein.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in Europe and the U.S. “When left untreated, fatty liver is an important step progress to type 2 diabetes and can develop into liver cirrhosis, which can have life-threatening effects,” said endocrinologist Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer of DIfE, who led the study. "Since the number of affected persons is increasing, it is therefore more important than ever to work together with our partners to develop effective dietary strategies that prevent the disease," he added.
Researchers at DIfE investigated in the current study the effects of two high-protein diets on the metabolism of 37 female and male subjects between the ages of 49 and 78 years suffering from type 2 diabetes and, in most cases, from fatty liver. The two diets differed only in the protein sources, which were either mainly plant or animal origin.
The results: All study participants benefited from the high-protein diet, whether based on plant or animal protein. Liver fat content decreased significantly, in half of the study participants by more than 50 percent. Negative effects on renal function or glucose metabolism were not observed.
The team of scientists led by Mariya Markova, Olga Pivovarova, Silke Hornemann and Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer of DIfE, a partner of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), has published its findings in the journal "Gastroenterology".
Markova et al. 2016. Isocaloric Diets High in Animal or Plant Protein Reduce Liver fat and Inflammation in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, Gastroenterology 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.10.007