A moderate weight reduction through dietary intervention decreases hepatic fat content in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): a pilot study

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Mar;52(2):527-35. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0355-z. Epub 2012 Apr 28.


Purpose: As a diet rich in fructose and an impaired intestinal barrier function have been proposed to be risk factors for the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the aim of the present pilot study was to determine whether a dietary intervention focusing on a reduction of fructose intake (-50 % in comparison with baseline) has a beneficial effect on liver status.

Methods: A total of 15 patients with NAFLD were enrolled in the study of which 10 finished the study. Fructose and total nutrient intake were assessed using a diet history. At baseline and after 6 months liver status and markers of intestinal barrier function as well as plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-) 1 concentration were determined in plasma.

Results: Hepatic lipid content and transaminases in plasma as well as body mass index and some parameters of glucose metabolism (e.g., fasting plasma insulin) were significantly lower at the end of the intervention when compared to baseline. Whereas the dietary intervention had no effect on the prevalence of bacterial overgrowth, orocecal transit time and the intestinal permeability or blood ethanol levels endotoxin and PAI-1 concentration in plasma were significantly lower at the end of 6 months intervention period than at baseline.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results indicate that a dietary intervention focusing only on one dietary parameter like fructose may help to decrease intrahepatic fat content of NAFLD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Energy Intake
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Fatty Liver / diet therapy*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fructose / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / blood
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Weight Loss*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Fructose
  • Ethanol
  • Transaminases