Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, researchers find

Date:
April 19, 2011
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Curbing carbohydrates is more effective than cutting calories for individuals who want to quickly reduce the amount of fat in their liver, researchers report.

Curbing carbohydrates is more effective than cutting calories for individuals who want to quickly reduce the amount of fat in their liver, report UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

Related Articles


"What this study tells us is that if your doctor says that you need to reduce the amount of fat in your liver, you can do something within a month," said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author.

The results, available online and in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, could have implications for treating numerous diseases including diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. The disease, characterized by high levels of triglycerides in the liver, affects as many as one-third of American adults. It can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

For the study, researchers assigned 18 participants with NAFLD to eat either a low-carbohydrate or a low-calorie diet for 14 days.

The participants assigned to the low-carb diet limited their carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams a day -- the equivalent of a small banana or a half-cup of egg noodles -- for the first seven days. For the final seven days, they switched to frozen meals prepared by UT Southwestern's Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) kitchen that matched their individual food preferences, carbohydrate intake and energy needs.

Those assigned to the low-calorie diet continued their regular diet and kept a food diary for the four days preceding the study. The CTRC kitchen then used these individual records to prepare all meals during the 14-day study. Researchers limited the total number of calories to roughly 1,200 a day for the female participants and 1,500 a day for the males.

After two weeks, researchers used advanced imaging techniques to analyze the amount of liver fat in each individual. They found that the study participants on the low-carb diet lost more liver fat.

Although the study was not designed to determine which diet was more effective for losing weight, both the low-calorie dieters and the low-carbohydrate dieters lost an average of 10 pounds.

Dr. Browning cautioned that the findings do not explain why participants on the low-carb diet saw a greater reduction in liver fat, and that they should not be extrapolated beyond the two-week period of study.

"This is not a long-term study, and I don't think that low-carb diets are fundamentally better than low-fat ones," he said. "Our approach is likely to be only of short-term benefit because at some point the benefits of weight loss alone trounce any benefits derived from manipulating dietary macronutrients such as calories and carbohydrates.

"Weight loss, regardless of the mechanism, is currently the most effective way to reduce liver fat."

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Shawn Burgess, senior author and assistant professor of pharmacology in the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC); Dr. Jonathan Baker, assistant professor of pathology; Dr. Thomas Rogers, former professor of pathology; Jeannie Davis, clinical research coordinator in the AIRC; and Dr. Santhosh Satapati, postdoctoral researcher in the AIRC.

The National Institutes of Health supported the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. D. Browning, J. A. Baker, T. Rogers, J. Davis, S. Satapati, S. C. Burgess. Short-term weight loss and hepatic triglyceride reduction: evidence of a metabolic advantage with dietary carbohydrate restriction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.007674

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419003651.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2011, April 19). Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419003651.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419003651.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins