Dietary habits and behaviors associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb 21;20(7):1756-67. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i7.1756.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most frequent causes of health problems in Western (industrialized) countries. Moreover, the incidence of infantile NAFLD is increasing, with some of these patients progressing to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. These trends depend on dietary habits and life-style. In particular, overeating and its associated obesity affect the development of NAFLD. Nutritional problems in patients with NAFLD include excess intake of energy, carbohydrates, and lipids, and shortages of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Although nutritional therapeutic approaches are required for prophylaxis and treatment of NAFLD, continuous nutrition therapy is difficult for many patients because of their dietary habits and lifestyle, and because the motivation for treatment differs among patients. Thus, it is necessary to assess the nutritional background and to identify nutritional problems in each patient with NAFLD. When assessing dietary habits, it is important to individually evaluate those that are consumed excessively or insufficiently, as well as inappropriate eating behaviors. Successful nutrition therapy requires patient education, based on assessments of individual nutrients, and continuing the treatment. In this article, we update knowledge about NAFLD, review the important aspects of nutritional assessment targeting treatment success, and present some concrete nutritional care plans which can be applied generally.

Keywords: Carbohydrates; Cholesterol; Fatty acids; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nutritional therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnosis
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Obesity / complications
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Vitamin E Deficiency
  • Vitamins / chemistry


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Vitamins
  • Cholesterol