Fatty Liver Disease and the Keto Diet

Fatty Liver Disease is a condition that’s broken up into two categories: alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); the latter condition affects around 25% of the world’s population. It’s a disease that’s notoriously difficult to diagnose, and its ideal treatment plan varies depending on which iteration you’re dealing with. 

A study published in February of this year in BMJ Open sheds new light on how the popular keto diet that’s high in fat and low in carbs improves not only NAFLD, but also fibrosis–or scarring–in patients who also have type 2 diabetes. 

One of the study’s lead researchers, Indiana University School of Medicine’s Eduardo Vilar Gomez, reported along with his team that keto diets have showed significant weight loss in the long run in adults who are obese and overweight; looking at it in the short term, keto diets have also been correlated with improvements in glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, two aspects important in the maintenance of type 2 diabetes. The team also reported that, after a year, patients with NAFLD, type 2 diabetes, and advanced fibrosis who were on the keto diet saw significantly improved surrogate markers of NAFLD and advanced fibrosis. This means that the keto diet is quite effective in treating NAFLD as well as fibrosis. 

The study involved 262 patients who were receiving digitally supported comprehensive continuous care intervention (CCI) alongside a keto diet, as well as 87 control subjects, who received regular care for the span of one year. 95% of these participants had a suspicion of NAFLD, and 84% were on medication for diabetes. 

“Medical interventions incorporating ketogenic diets appear effective for improving NAFLD and therefore may be an effective approach for reversing the natural history of NAFLD progression, although further studies are needed to confirm potential beneficial effect in patients with biopsy-confirmed NASH.” (NASH stands for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is a type of liver damage and inflammation caused by the buildup of fat in the liver; NASH is a sub-type of NAFLD).

The Ezra abdominal, torso, and full-body scans screen your liver for fatty liver disease; you can learn more about our pricing plans here.