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Research Review: The Effects of Eight Weeks’ Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) on Liver Health

Very low-calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) have been widely employed in successful weight-loss strategies.

However, recent studies have suggested that VLCKD may also have therapeutic benefits in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this blog post, we'll explore a study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of a VLCKD on NAFLD and parameters commonly associated with this condition.

The study was a prospective, real-life study that included thirty-three participants who followed a VLCKD for 8 weeks. NAFLD was diagnosed using transient elastography (FibroScan). Data on anthropometric measurements, bioimpedance analysis, and biochemical assays were gathered both before and after the dietary intervention. The results were quite promising.

The study found that after VLCKD, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass were significantly lower. Additionally, CAP (db/m), the FibroScan parameter quantifying fatty liver accumulation, showed a significant reduction, as did the fatty liver index (FLI), a benchmark of steatosis. These results suggest that VLCKD can be a helpful approach for NAFLD, independent of changes in factors commonly associated with NAFLD such as obesity, fat mass, insulin resistance, lipids, and blood pressure.

Furthermore, the study found that after VLCKD, fasting blood glucose, insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, ALT, γGT, and FT3 blood concentrations were significantly lower, indicating a possible improvement in metabolic health. Insulin resistance, quantified by HOMAIR, was also significantly lower after VLCKD. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were also significantly lower after VLCKD


Rinaldi R, De Nucci S, Castellana F, Di Chito M, Giannuzzi V, Shahini E, Zupo R, Lampignano L, Piazzolla G, Triggiani V, Cozzolongo R, Giannelli G, De Pergola G. The Effects of Eight Weeks’ Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) on Liver Health in Subjects Affected by Overweight and Obesity. Nutrients. 2023; 15(4):825.

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