Although previous studies reported the associations between the intakes of individual foods or nutrients and the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),
the relationship between dietary patterns and NAFLD in the Chinese population has been rarely studied to date. This study aimed to investigate the associations between dietary patterns and the risk of NAFLD in a middle-aged Chinese population. The Study subjects were 999 Chinese adults aged 45–60 years in the Anhui province who participated in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study. Dietary intake was collected by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. NAFLD was defined as the presence of moderate-severe hepatic steatosis (by B-ultrasonic examination); the absence of excessive alcohol use (>20 g day−1
in men and 10 g day−1
in women); no use of steatogenic medications within the past six months; no exposure to hepatotoxins; and no history of bariatric surgery. Log-binomial regression analysis was used to examine the association between dietary patterns and NAFLD with adjustment of potential confounding variables. Out of 999 participants, 345 (34.5%) were classified as having NAFLD. Four major dietary patterns were identified: “Traditional Chinese”, “Animal food”, “Grains-vegetables” and “High-salt” dietary patterns. After adjusting for potential confounders, subjects in the highest quartile of the “Animal food” pattern scores had greater prevalence ratio for NAFLD (prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.354; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.063–1.724; p
< 0.05) than did those in the lowest quartile. After adjustment for body mass index (BMI), compared with the lowest quartile of the “Grains-vegetables” pattern, the highest quartile had a lower prevalence ratio for NAFLD (PR = 0.777; 95% CI: 0.618–0.977, p
< 0.05). However, the “traditional Chinese” and “high-salt” dietary patterns showed no association with the risk of NAFLD. Our findings indicated that the “Animal food” dietary pattern was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD.
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