Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects millions of individuals
on a global scale and currently no gold standard treatment exists. The risk of developing
NAFLD is considerably higher with increasing body mass index. Consequently, weight loss
should be recommended to all overweight patients with fatty liver. However, lifestyle interventions,
irrespective of weight status, may also influence the condition. The aim herein is to
present examples of short-term interventions which assess direct effects of dietary-related components
on hepatic steatosis.
Methods: This review includes studies with short-term dietary-related interventions of up to 16
weeks that evaluate their efficacy in reducing intrahepatic lipid contents (hepatic steatosis).
This review primarily focuses on the three main macronutrients: dietary carbohydrates, fats and
Results: High saturated fat intake and high consumption of carbohydrates, particularly from
simple sugars such as fructose are reported as risk factors for hepatic steatosis. Overall, shortterm
hypocaloric diets have shown beneficial effects in reducing intrahepatic lipid contents.
Macronutrient manipulations such as carbohydrate restriction as well as the consumption of
unsaturated fatty acids are also reported to have efficacious effects.
Conclusion: This review highlights the different dietary interventions that can influence hepatic
steatosis in the short term, illustrating both pro and anti-steatotic effects.