Mediterranean Diet May Significantly Reduce Fatty Liver Disease Risk

Fatty liver disease is a metabolic condition that has been liked to type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular diseases. Specifically, fatty

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liver disease is a known risk factor for these diseases, making care and prevention of the disease of utmost important in a world where type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are all too prevalent in society.

A healthy diet, like a Mediterranean-style diet, has been often cited as a way to reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A new study published in the journal Current Opinion in Lipidology reviewed published research on the effects of diet on the risk of fatty liver disease from March 2013 through August 2014. A total of 5 peer-reviewed studies were published during this time period and used for analysis.

Important Findings:

  • Healthy Eating Index scores and Dietary Diversity scores were not related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • The Mediterranean diet was associated with a significant decrease in fatty liver content over a 6 week intervention period.
  • A “western-style” diet and diet patterns including alcohol, meat, and tea were all associated with fatty liver disease.

The results of this review were somewhat mixed and made it clear that more research needs to be done. Limiting a review to a small number of studies, many of which had small sample sizes, is not going to give clear results most of the time.

Those studies focusing on the Mediterranean diet found significant

Photo by Flickr user Garry Knight (
Photo by Flickr user Garry Knight (

reductions in fatty liver disease, however, other studies using the Healthy Index score did not find any associations with fatty liver disease. This result is somewhat confusing, as someone adhering to the Mediterranean diet is also likely to have a higher Healthy Index score.

This review shows promise that a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of fatty liver disease, though more studies on the subject need to be performed in order to have a better understanding of these relationships.


Koch, M., Nöthlings, U., and Lieb, W. 2015. Dietary patterns and fatty liver disease. Current Opinion in Lipidology 26(1): 35-41.