The Impact of Macronutrient Intake on Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Too Much Fat, Too Much Carbohydrate, or Just Too Many Calories?



Hydes, Theresa, Alam, Uazman ORCID: 0000-0002-3190-1122 and Cuthbertson, Daniel J ORCID: 0000-0002-6128-0822
(2021) The Impact of Macronutrient Intake on Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Too Much Fat, Too Much Carbohydrate, or Just Too Many Calories? Frontiers in Nutrition, 8. 640557 - 640557.

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Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing epidemic, in parallel with the obesity crisis, rapidly becoming one of the commonest causes of chronic liver disease worldwide. Diet and physical activity are important determinants of liver fat accumulation related to insulin resistance, dysfunctional adipose tissue, and secondary impaired lipid storage and/or increased lipolysis. While it is evident that a hypercaloric diet (an overconsumption of calories) promotes liver fat accumulation, it is also clear that the macronutrient composition can modulate this risk. A number of other baseline factors modify the overfeeding response, which may be genetic or environmental. Although it is difficult to disentangle the effects of excess calories vs. specifically the individual effects of excessive carbohydrates and/or fats, isocaloric, and hypercaloric dietary intervention studies have been implemented to provide insight into the effects of different macronutrients, sub-types and their relative balance, on the regulation of liver fat. What has emerged is that different types of fat and carbohydrates differentially influence liver fat accumulation, even when diets are isocaloric. Furthermore, distinct molecular and metabolic pathways mediate the effects of carbohydrates and fat intake on hepatic steatosis. Fat accumulation appears to act through impairments in lipid storage and/or increased lipolysis, whereas carbohydrate consumption has been shown to promote liver fat accumulation through <i>de novo</i> lipogenesis. Effects differ dependent upon carbohydrate and fat type. Saturated fat and fructose induce the greatest increase in intrahepatic triglycerides (IHTG), insulin resistance, and harmful ceramides compared with unsaturated fats, which have been found to be protective. Decreased intake of saturated fats and avoidance of added sugars are therefore the two most important dietary interventions that can lead to a reduction in IHTG and potentially the associated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A healthy and balanced diet and regular physical activity must remain the cornerstones of effective lifestyle intervention to prevent the development and progression of NAFLD. Considering the sub-type of each macronutrient, in addition to the quantity, are critical determinants of liver health.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 11:05
Last Modified: 04 May 2021 06:10
DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2021.640557
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3117100