Long term nutritional intake and the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): a population based study

J Hepatol. 2007 Nov;47(5):711-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2007.06.020. Epub 2007 Aug 14.


Background/aims: Weight loss is considered therapeutic for patients with NAFLD. However, there is no epidemiological evidence that dietary habits are associated with NAFLD. Dietary patterns associated with primary NAFLD were investigated.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of a sub-sample (n=375) of the Israeli National Health and Nutrition Survey. Exclusion criteria were any known etiology for secondary NAFLD. Participants underwent an abdominal ultrasound, biochemical tests, dietary and anthropometric evaluations. A semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was administered.

Results: After exclusion, 349 volunteers (52.7% male, mean age 50.7+/-10.4, 30.9% primary NAFLD) were included. The NAFLD group consumed almost twice the amount of soft drinks (P=0.03) and 27% more meat (P<0.001). In contrast, the NAFLD group consumed somewhat less fish rich in omega-3 (P=0.056). Adjusting for age, gender, BMI and total calories, intake of soft drinks and meat was significantly associated with an increased risk for NAFLD (OR=1.45, 1.13-1.85 95% CI and OR=1.37, 1.04-1.83 95% CI, respectively).

Conclusions: NAFLD patients have a higher intake of soft drinks and meat and a tendency towards a lower intake of fish rich in omega-3. Moreover, a higher intake of soft drinks and meat is associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, independently of age, gender, BMI and total calories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fish Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3