Increasing the amount of protein in the diet may reduce the liver’s fat content and lower the risk of diabetes in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism. NAFLD — sometimes referred to as a “fatty liver” — occurs when more than 5 percent of the liver’s total weight is made up of fatty tissue.
Excessive fat in the liver can lead to scarring, which may increase the risk of liver cancer or liver failure. People with NAFLD are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop NAFLD. In fact an estimated 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also have a fatty liver. Obesity is also a major risk factor for NAFLD.
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