Time-restricted eating no more effective than caloric restriction for fatty liver disease

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A recent study published in JAMA Network Open examined the effects of time-restricted eating versus calorie-restricted diets on intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) levels in adults with obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The study was led by researchers at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, U.S. The research suggests that time-restricted eating is not more effective than calorie restriction for treating NAFLD.

NAFLD and Current Treatments

NAFLD is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the liver, leading to metabolic disorders when it constitutes more than 10% of the liver’s weight.

Currently, there are no approved pharmaceutical interventions for NAFLD.

The common recommendations for managing NAFLD include weight loss and low-fat diets, which can reduce inflammation and the amount of fat in the liver.

Study Design

The study, titled “Effects of Time-Restricted Eating on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease,” involved 88 participants with obesity and NAFLD.

They were randomly divided into two groups: one following a time-restricted eating regimen and the other a calorie-restricted diet.

While both groups consumed the same number of calories, the time-restricted group ate only between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.


At the end of 6 months, IHTG content reduced by 8.3% in the time-restricted group and 8.1% in the calorie-restricted group.

At 12 months, the reductions were 6.9% and 7.9% in the time-restricted and calorie-restricted groups, respectively.

Secondary factors like liver stiffness, body weight, and metabolic risk factors were comparably reduced in both groups.

Conclusions and Implications

The study found that time-restricted eating did not offer additional benefits over a calorie-restricted diet in reducing IHTG levels among individuals with obesity and NAFLD.

This challenges the notion that time-restricted eating could be a more effective alternative for weight loss and associated metabolic improvements.

Therefore, according to this study, when it comes to treating NAFLD in individuals with obesity, calorie restriction remains as effective as time-restricted eating.

These findings could be valuable for healthcare providers in designing treatment plans for NAFLD patients.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about simple habit that could give you a healthy liver, and common diabetes drug that may reverse liver inflammation.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about simple blood test that could detect your risk of fatty liver disease, and results showing this green diet may strongly lower non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Network Open.

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