1Silvia Marinho Ferolla, Maria de Lourdes Abreu Ferrari, Aloísio Sales da Cunha, Cláudia Alves Couto, Teresa Cristina Abreu Ferrari, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Centro de Pós-Graduação, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte 30130-100, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been identified as one of the most prevalent chronic liver disease in adults and children populations. NAFLD is usually associated with the metabolic syndrome (MS), which is chiefly related to insulin resistance and its consequences. Insulin resistance has a crucial role in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis and potentially nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Because of the contemporary epidemics of MS and obesity, the burden of NAFLD is also expected to rise. Unhealthy diets, such as the so-called western diet, are enriched in fructose, trans-fatty acids and saturated fat and seem to be associated with the development of NAFLD. In human studies, certain dietary sugars, particularly fructose, are used as a substrate for lipogenesis leading to hepatic fatty infiltration, inflammation, and possibly fibrosis. Other investigations have shown that fat consumption especially cholesterol and trans/saturated fatty acids are also steatogenic and seem to increase visceral adiposity. The identification of specific dietary components that favor the development of NASH could be important for the management of this disorder. This review focuses on the effects of different dietary approaches to prevent and treat NAFLD emphasizing the macronutrients and energy composition.