Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) incorporates an extensive spectrum of histologic liver abnormalities, varying from simple triglyceride accumulation in hepatocytes non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and it is the most frequent chronic liver disease in the industrialized world. Beyond liver related complications such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, NAFLD is also an emerging risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Currently, lifestyle intervention including strategies to reduce body weight and to increase regular physical activity represents the mainstay of NAFLD management. Total caloric intake plays a very important role in both the development and the treatment of NAFLD; however, apart from the caloric restriction alone, modifying the quality of the diet and modulating either the macro- or micronutrient composition can also markedly affect the clinical evolution of NAFLD, offering a more realistic and feasible treatment alternative. The aim of the present review is to summarize currently available evidence from randomized controlled trials on the effects of different nutrients including carbohydrates, lipids, protein and other dietary components, in isocaloric conditions, on NAFLD in people at high cardiometabolic risk. We also describe the plausible mechanisms by which different dietary components could modulate liver fat content.
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