Published online Oct 28, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i24.2522
Peer-review started: April 21, 2015
First decision: August 10, 2015
Revised: September 2, 2015
Accepted: October 1, 2015
Article in press: October 8, 2015
Published online: October 28, 2015
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been identified as one of the most prevalent chronic liver disease in adults and children populations. NAFLD is usually associated with the metabolic syndrome (MS), which is chiefly related to insulin resistance and its consequences. Insulin resistance has a crucial role in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis and potentially nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Because of the contemporary epidemics of MS and obesity, the burden of NAFLD is also expected to rise. Unhealthy diets, such as the so-called western diet, are enriched in fructose, trans-fatty acids and saturated fat and seem to be associated with the development of NAFLD. In human studies, certain dietary sugars, particularly fructose, are used as a substrate for lipogenesis leading to hepatic fatty infiltration, inflammation, and possibly fibrosis. Other investigations have shown that fat consumption especially cholesterol and trans/saturated fatty acids are also steatogenic and seem to increase visceral adiposity. The identification of specific dietary components that favor the development of NASH could be important for the management of this disorder. This review focuses on the effects of different dietary approaches to prevent and treat NAFLD emphasizing the macronutrients and energy composition.
Core tip: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been identified as one of the most prevalent chronic liver disease. Its pathogenesis is not fully elucidated, and until now there is no effective treatment for this condition. Evidence supports that dietary pattern may be related to the development of NAFLD. Furthermore, dietary intervention could be beneficial in NAFLD treatment. However, there is no consensus regarding the best dietary intervention to treat NAFLD. In this context, we conducted a systematic review about recent advances in the effects of different diets in the development of NAFLD in humans, and also in the dietary treatment approach of this disorder.