It is a well-known fact that protein lays the foundation stone for a healthy and fit body. One of the three important macro-nutrients (other two being carbs and fats), protein helps build and repair muscle strength and body mass. It also keeps one full for a longer period of time, aiding weight loss and metabolism. Hence, health experts often recommend protein-rich food as a part of one's healthy diet regime. Adding to the list of the benefits, a new study has found that it may help reduce the risks of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This study was published in the journal Liver International.
Dubbed to be one of the most common chronic liver diseases across the globe, it is a condition where excess amount of fat is accumulated in a human liver, leading to several serious health issues (including liver cirrhosis). The findings of the study stated that a diet, rich in protein and low in calorie, can help burning the harmful fat in the liver, as compared to low-protein diet. It was a small-sized study, conducted by researchers at Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung DZD (DIfE/DZD).
In this study, the researchers investigated 19 obese participants with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They were asked to follow diets either high or low in protein content. After three weeks, bariatric surgery was conducted to collect the liver samples of the participants. For the unversed, bariatric surgery is referred to the surgery to treat obesity.
After analysing the samples, it was found that the "high-protein diet decreased liver fat more effectively than a calorie-reduced, low-protein diet," read a report published on the website of DIfE/DZD.
"If the results continue to be confirmed in larger studies, the recommendation for an increased intake of protein together with a healthy low-fat diet as part of an effective fatty liver therapy could find its way into medical practice," said Andreas Pfeiffer, head of the Research Group Clinical Nutrition/DZD at DIfE.