Mortality from cirrhosis in many countries deviates markedly from that expected for a given per capita alcohol intake. We investigated the possibility that dietary factors might explain the deviation expected and actual mortality rates in different countries. Deviations from expected cirrhosis mortality was calculated as a percentage for 17 different countries, all of whom had carrier rates for hepatitis B virus of less than 2%. The percentage of deviation was correlated with dietary intake of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol, and also with mortality from ischemic heart disease. The percentage of deviation correlated inversely with dietary cholesterol (r = -0.86, p 0.001) and saturated fat (r = -0.80, p 0.001) and positively with polyunsaturated fats (r = -0.55 p 0.05). This suggests that both saturated fat and cholesterol protect against alcoholic cirrhosis while polyunsaturated fats promote cirrhosis. The correlation between percentage of deviation and ischemic heart disease (r = -0.78, p 0.002) suggests that those factors that promote ischemic heart disease protect against alcoholic cirrhosis.