The Mediterranean Diet Improves Liver Health

The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet go beyond weight loss, even when weight loss isn’t achieved. Researchers from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, studied 12 patients without diabetes who had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and the results of their study demonstrated that liver health was improved even without weight loss.

“Subjects had a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity, indicating a reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This was demonstrated without weight loss, thus suggesting that a change in macronutrient intake alone without weight loss can improve metabolic health,” said Marno Ryan, MBBS, MD.

NAFLD is a cause of fat deposited in the liver and not associated with alcohol use; instead, it’s associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndromes such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The condition could affect up to 30 percent of the US population, and can be detected through blood tests measuring for liver enzymes or ultrasound, but liver biopsy is the surest way of confirming NAFLD. All 12 subjects in this study had NAFLD confirmed by liver biopsy.

 “Weight loss is difficult to achieve and maintain; however this has previously been the only accepted therapeutic strategy for NAFLD,” said Dr. Ryan, “We have now demonstrated that adherence to the Mediterranean Diet can reduce liver fat, and improve insulin sensitivity, without weight loss, thus reducing the risk of development of liver disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.”