Increasing Whole Grain Intake as Part of Prevention and Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
In conjunction with the rise in rates of obesity, there has been an increase in the rate of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). While NAFLD at least partially originates from poor diet, there is a lack of nutritional recommendations for patients with suspected or confirmed diagnosis of NAFLD, beyond eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and emphasising weight loss. The limited current literature suggests that there may be opportunities to provide more tailored dietary advice for people diagnosed with or at risk of NAFLD. Epidemiological studies consistently find associations between whole grain intake and a reduced risk of obesity and related diseases, yet no work has been done on the potential of whole grains to prevent and/or be a part of the treatment for fatty liver diseases. In this review, we examine the potential and the current evidence for whole grains having an impact on NAFLD. Due to their nutrient and phytochemical composition, switching from consuming mainly refined grains to whole grains should be considered as part of the nutritional guidelines for patients diagnosed with or at risk for fatty liver disease.