There have been a lot of studies about the effects of high-protein diet. Until now it was known to have many positive effects, like increase of metabolism, retention of muscle mass and an important part in keeping glucose levels in a desirable rate.
Researchers wanted to find out, if high-protein diet has positive affect in reducing condition known as fatty liver. Turns out that within six weeks of using this diet, liver fat can be reduced up to 48 percent.
In Europe and United States a lot of people suffer from a condition called fatty liver disease. People with obesity, liver failure and Type 2 diabetes are in risk for developing this condition.
German Institute of Human Nutrition carried out research with both male and female participants, between the age of 49 and 78, with average age of 60 years. All of the participants in this study had Type 2 diabetes, and most of them also had fatty liver. It was ensured that participants received a well balanced diet and received enough nutrition to remain in their current weight. Scientists divided all participants in two groups. One group received their protein mainly from animal origin, while the second one mainly from plant origin. Plant proteins included such foods as pasta, bread and pea protein. The animal protein group used lean milk products, white meat and fish.
After assessing the participants, scientists concluded that the diet benefited all patients, from both- plant and animal protein groups. It also did not have a negative influence on renal function or glucose metabolism. The study showed that liver fat decreased significantly for all participants. In fact, for half of the patients in the study it decreased by more than 50 percent. Together with the positive benefits of high-protein diet on the liver, other effects were observed. The liver and lipid metabolism improved, as well as the insulin sensitivity. The decrease of the hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 was observed. Elevated levels of FGF21 correlate with the level of fat in the liver and Type 2 diabetes.
Fatty liver is a serious condition that plays a role in the progress of Type 2 diabetes. With time, fatty liver can also develop into liver cirrhosis which is one of the causes for liver cancer. This study has shown very positive results and therefore it should be implemented for Type 2 diabetes patients. This diet can also be used to prevent occurrence of Type 2 diabetes.
Still, further studies need to be done. The research carried out by German Institute of Human Nutrition is just a step towards discovering the underlying mechanisms of high-protein diet. Larger and longer studies need to be carried out, to observe other possible benefits as well as side effects of this diet. There are also other facts that need to be taken into consideration, like the age of the participants, and renal function. It would be beneficial to see how younger patients respond to this diet.