A new study published in JAMA Network Open has found that time-restricted eating, a popular diet strategy, may not be an effective weight loss strategy for obese people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The study was conducted by researchers at Southern Medical University and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
It found that time-restricted eating did not result in additional reductions in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) compared to a daily calorie-restriction diet.
NAFLD is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders.
While weight loss and low-fat diets are known to help reduce the condition, there are currently no pharmaceutical solutions available.
Time-restricted eating has been suggested as an alternative weight loss strategy to calorie reduction, but the health benefits have not been well-tested in humans.
The team assigned 88 participants with obesity and NAFLD to either the time-restricted or calorie-restricted diets.
Both groups had to adhere to the same caloric energy intake, but the time-restricted group was required to complete their intake between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Researchers found that both groups saw reductions in IHTG content, with no significant difference between the two groups.
However, the secondary factors, including liver stiffness, body weight, and metabolic risk factors, were significantly and comparably reduced in both groups.
The study’s findings suggest that time-restricted eating alone does not provide any additional health advantages and is no more effective than calorie restriction in reducing body fat and visceral fat among individuals with obesity.
Previous studies have linked time-restricted eating to weight loss in rats and observational studies in humans.
The current study highlights the need for further research to determine the effectiveness of time-restricted eating as a weight loss strategy in humans with NAFLD.
Despite the study’s findings, it is important to note that time-restricted eating may still have potential benefits for other health conditions.
For instance, studies have suggested that time-restricted eating may help improve insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, some people may find time-restricted eating to be a more manageable and sustainable weight loss strategy compared to calorie restriction.
Overall, the study emphasizes the need for further research to determine the effectiveness of time-restricted eating as a weight loss strategy and highlights the importance of tailored approaches to weight loss for individuals with obesity and NAFLD.
In the meantime, individuals seeking to improve their liver health may benefit from weight loss and low-fat diets, which have been shown to help reduce the condition.
Managing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) typically involves lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of fat in the liver. Here are some strategies that can help manage NAFLD:
Maintain a healthy weight: Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the amount of fat in the liver. Even a weight loss of 5-10% can improve liver function and reduce inflammation.
Follow a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can also help manage NAFLD. A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources and low in saturated and trans fats can help reduce the amount of fat in the liver.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce inflammation and improve liver function. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Avoid alcohol: Avoiding alcohol is important for managing NAFLD. Even moderate alcohol consumption can worsen liver damage and increase the risk of liver disease.
Manage other health conditions: Managing other health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, can also help manage NAFLD. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for managing these conditions.
Talk to your healthcare provider: If you have been diagnosed with NAFLD, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage the condition. They may recommend additional strategies, such as medications or supplements, to help manage NAFLD.
If you care about liver health, please read studies about dairy foods linked to liver cancer, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.
For more information about liver health, please see recent studies about a new therapy for fatty liver disease, and results showing the Mediterranean diet could cut fatty liver disease by half.
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