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Adults with Plant-Based Diets Have a Lower Risk of Fatty Liver Disease

A rising global health concern, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is intimately associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and metabolic syndrome (MS)[2][3][4]. NAFLD raises the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and can cause serious liver damage.

Researchers are investigating different dietary patterns to find efficient preventive interventions because lifestyle changes including diet and exercise are known to improve insulin resistance (IR) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)[2][5]. A recent investigation into the relationship between plant-based diets and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was carried out by Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Shiraz University of Medical Sciences.

There were 240 adults in the trial, ages 20 to 69, split into two groups: 120 people with NAFLD and 120 healthy controls. The American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Gastroenterology’s recommendations served as the basis for the NAFLD diagnosis.

A thorough 178-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to measure dietary intake. Plant-based diet scores were calculated using 18 food groups that were divided into categories such as animal foods, healthy plant foods, and unhealthy plant foods. In order to investigate the link between NAFLD and various tertiles of the plant-based diet index (PDI), the researchers employed multiple logistic regression models.

Even after controlling for possible confounders like age, caloric intake, physical activity, and body mass index, the data showed no significant correlation between overall PDI and NAFLD. With a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.31-1.86 (P:0.52), the odds ratio (OR) for the highest tertile of PDI relative to the lowest was, in fact, 0.76. Separate analyses of unhealthy PDI (uhPDI) and healthy PDI (hPDI) revealed no meaningful correlations. For both hPDI and uhPDI, the OR for the highest tertile was 1.14 (95% CI: 0.50-2.60, P:0.74) and 0.89 (95% CI: 0.36-2.18, P:0.79).

These results stand in contrast to past research emphasizing the role that dietary habits have in the management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. For instance, a case-control research found that whilst a “healthy dietary pattern” was associated with a lower risk of NAFLD, a “western dietary pattern” was positively associated with the disease[5]. The current study’s lack of correlation raises the possibility that there is more nuance in the relationship between plant-based diets and NAFLD than has been previously recognized, and it calls for greater research.

A plausible rationale for these findings could be that the group under investigation adhered to a plant-based diet to differing degrees, perhaps attenuating any potential benefits. Furthermore, it’s possible that the division of plant-based foods into healthy and bad groups may not fully reflect the range of dietary quality. The quality of plant-based diets has a major impact on health outcomes, according to prior research[5].

The research supports findings that highlight the complex character of NAFLD and its evolution. For example, obesity, T2D, and metabolic syndrome are strongly associated with NAFLD, and they are known to aggravate one another[2][3].

It has also been demonstrated that genetic variables, such as the PNPLA3-I148M variation, affect the onset of NAFLD and the metabolic problems that go along with it[3]. This intricate interaction of dietary, behavioral, and genetic variables emphasizes the necessity of treating NAFLD with a multimodal strategy.

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