View Full Version : study shows effects of low carb on the Liver

10-25-2009, 01:14 PM
Thought this was interesting...

*Low-carbohydrate diet burns more excess liver fat than low-calorie diet, UT Southwestern study finds*

_DALLAS - Jan. 20, 2009 - People on low-carbohydrate diets are more dependent on the oxidation of fat in the liver for energy than those on a low-calorie diet, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a small clinical study._
_The findings, published in the journal Hepatology, could have implications for treating obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor in the UT Southwestern Advanced Imaging Research Center and of internal medicine at the medical center._
_"Instead of looking at drugs to combat obesity and the diseases that stem from it, maybe optimizing diet can not only manage and treat these diseases, but also prevent them," said Dr. Browning, the study`s lead author._
_Although the study was not designed to determine which diet was more effective for losing weight, the average weight loss for the low-calorie dieters was about 5 pounds after two weeks, while the low-carbohydrate dieters lost about 9? pounds on average._
_Glucose, a form of sugar, and fat are both sources of energy that are metabolized in the liver and used as energy in the body. Glucose can be formed from lactate, amino acids or glycerol._
_In order to determine how diet affects glucose production and utilization in the liver, the researchers randomly assigned 14 obese or overweight adults to either a low-carbohydrate or low-calorie diet and monitored seven lean subjects on a regular diet._
_After two weeks, researchers used advanced imaging techniques to analyze the different methods, or biochemical pathways, the subjects used to make glucose._
_"We saw a dramatic change in where and how the liver was producing glucose, depending on diet," said Dr. Browning._
_Researchers found that participants on a low-carbohydrate diet produced more glucose from lactate or amino acids than those on a low-calorie diet._
_"Understanding how the liver makes glucose under different dietary conditions may help us better regulate metabolic disorders with diet," Dr. Browning said._
_The different diets produced other differences in glucose metabolism. For example, people on a low-calorie diet got about 40 percent of their glucose from glycogen, which is comes from ingested carbohydrates and is stored in the liver until the body needs it._
_The low-carbohydrate dieters, however, got only 20 percent of their glucose from glycogen. Instead of dipping into their reserve of glycogen, these subjects burned liver fat for energy._
_The findings are significant because the accumulation of excess fat in the liver - primarily a form of fat called triglycerides - can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. The condition is the most common form of liver disease in Western countries, and its incidence is growing. Dr. Browning has previously shown that NAFLD may affect as many as one-third of U.S. adults. The disease is associated with metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, and it can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis and liver cancer._
_"Energy production is expensive for the liver," Dr. Browning said. "It appears that for the people on a low-carbohydrate diet, in order to meet that expense, their livers have to burn excess fat."_
_Results indicate that patients on the low-carbohydrate diet increased fat burning throughout the entire body._
_Dr. Browning and his colleagues will next study whether the changes that occur in liver metabolism as a result of carbohydrate restriction could help people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Previous research has shown a correlation between carbohydrate intake and NAFLD._
_The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association._

The whole article can be found at:

10-25-2009, 01:20 PM
Very Interesting, thanks for posting.


10-25-2009, 01:31 PM
More good news! Thanks for posting this.

10-25-2009, 01:40 PM
That is very informative and I am adding this to my favorites. I am really liking the Atkins diet and was wanting my husband to go on it for the benefits other than weight loss. He definitely doesn`t have issues with weight. But he does have Hepatitis C so the effects on his liver are a big concern. He has had it for several years and is one of the few that have no effects from it but it`s called the "sleeping dragon" disease so who knows. Thanks so much for posting that.

10-25-2009, 01:43 PM
I`m glad they did the research and put it out there. They could have saved some money and consulted with the Atkins teams directly who have over 30 years of history and science to back up what they have published over and over.

In any case, I`m glad that the word on low carb continues to get out there. Ultimately it could make all the difference in someone`s life.

Low carb is the way to go...

10-25-2009, 01:54 PM
_After two weeks, researchers used advanced imaging techniques to analyze the different methods, or biochemical pathways, the subjects used to make glucose._

Wonder what these techniques are? Who needs keto sticks when you can have this done to see if you are in ketosis?

10-25-2009, 02:26 PM
How great is this study? These people are real doctors, not detractors who were doing the study for an entirely different reason than for weight loss. it was devised and published in a journal called
Hepatology which is for the liver.The doctors are a
also experts on all types of digestive disorders.
Elena, that was funny!

10-25-2009, 03:24 PM
This was very informative! Thanks for sharing it! A lady that my husband works for was put on a low-carb lifestyle by her doctor because she is having heart problems. I know most people say this is not a heart healthy diet but I think and believe that people do not really know the indepth benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. It frustrates me when people say to me how fatty my diet is but I try to explain (to no avail) that my body is not storing the fat but burning it for energy and fuel! But it`s kind of like other things in life to. Gotta see and do it to believe it! Thanks ANA for making me a happier person!

10-25-2009, 03:27 PM
Great article!

10-25-2009, 05:23 PM
Wonderful information.

10-25-2009, 06:16 PM
Thanks SO much for the article. At one time my triglycerides (noted as culprits in the article) were 375; went on meds, and a year later 207. Still way too high, as desired is <150. I went on Atkins and they are now 100! Nothing else has changed...it was the diet alone that did that! Everything else improved as well, cholesterol (once 239, now 130), LDL`s, VLDL`s, EVERYTHING and my Coronary Risk Factor is "Less"...I had a heart attack 5 years ago so this is great news! First time ever I had a "less!"

My cardiologist accepted the fact I was determined to go on Atkins when I stayed 40 pounds overweight. Now, 34 pounds GONE she just says, "Keep on doing what you are doing" and shakes her head in amazement at my weight loss, energy, attitude, trimness and of course THE LIPID PANEL on the blood results.

It will take solid evidence, unbiased and independent like the one here, to dispel the myths about Atkins. My doctors are OK with it. I hope more come away from the "dark side!"

10-25-2009, 06:22 PM
All I can say about that is "It`s about time"
Sharon O

03-30-2010, 07:10 PM
Thank you all for the information. My son was just diagnosed with a fatty liver. I know his diet has been an issue but being 18 and making his own money he buys nothing but pizza and junk food. I have been harping on him that he should be going on atkins to control his weight as he is beginning to show signs of a belly ( he`s 6` 2" 250) so not horribly overweight but his diet has impacted his liver. Since his doctor has told him he has to improve he come to me for advice and this article will help point him in the right direction cause you know kids don`t want to listen to their parents. lol.. thanks

03-30-2010, 07:15 PM
Thank you so much for posting that. I have fatty liver and it that information is great to know!

03-30-2010, 07:15 PM
You know there was a poster on here not to long ago that posted that she had a friend U/S her liver when she started and then after some months had it u/s again and it showed much less fat in her liver..

I favorited this too!! Thanks!

03-30-2010, 07:22 PM
*"Instead of looking at drugs to combat obesity and the diseases that stem from it, maybe optimizing diet can not only manage and treat these diseases, but also prevent them," said Dr. Browning*

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ROTFLMAO!

Ya think? :-D

03-30-2010, 07:49 PM
Great study and the methodology didn`t even go as low in carbs as the Atkins Induction and early OWL recommends. Imagine how much better it could have been if carb consumption was lower. Dr Elizabeth Parks sits as a member on our Science Advisory Board and she informed us of this study at our last meeting. She is a professor at the University.

It`s a very well conducted study and encouraging seeing the research going in this kind of direction.

03-30-2010, 08:27 PM
Just curious, how many carbs did they eat?

03-30-2010, 08:31 PM
I actually have NAFLD and after 3 months on the plan my Doctor was thrilled with the improvment he saw in my tests last week.. This will be my WOE for life...I have only had positive things come from this WOE... We may all have a little different way of coming at this plan but the important thing is to encourage people to join us...

03-30-2010, 09:15 PM
Interesting how the low carbers lost almost twice the weight of the low calorie folks in that 2 week time...

04-22-2010, 03:13 PM
i was told YEARS ago ...way before I was really overweight.. that I had a slightly fatty liver. This is good information to have, considering I`ve gained a lot of weight since that time and now am determined to stick with Atkins until I get back down to my pre-baby weight!