A diet plan that includes a low-fat diet or a low-calorie diet along with adequate exercise or physical activity could benefit overweight patients with hepatitis C infection, reveals recent study.
Obesity has been associated with insulin resistance, which can give rise to diabetes. In addition, it could also worsen the liver damage in hepatitis C.
AdvertisementA study conducted in Romania assessed the effect of diet control in overweight patients with hepatitis C. Some patients were assigned a specific low-calorie diet (NGLCD), whereas others received a low-fat diet. Their adherence to the diet was estimated based on a food journal submitted by the patients. The patients also participated in a lifestyle management program, which included 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity for 3-7 days a week.
The normoglucidic low-calorie diet provided 50-60% calories from carbohydrates per day, 25-35% from fat and 15% from proteins. The simple sugars were restricted to less than 5% of the caloric intake. In the low-fat diet, the fat intake was limited to 20% of total daily calorie intake. The carbohydrate, protein and fiber intake were more as compared to the low-calorie diet. The patients were evaluated at the baseline and at 6 and 12 months after introduction of the dietary and lifestyle changes.
Data was obtained from a total of 110 subjects. The weight loss was more in the low-calorie group at the end of 6 months, but was similar in both groups at the end of 1 year. There was a reduction in fasting plasma glucose levels and an improvement in insulin resistance at the end of 1 year, which were similar in both the groups.
Liver function tests and lipid profiles showed an improvement in both the groups. Improvements in the liver structure were also observed.
The number of people who dropped out from the low-fat diet was significantly higher than those taking the low-calorie diet, which could indicate that the former was not as pleasant as the latter. The diets did not have any adverse effects on the function of the kidneys.
An important benefit highlighted in the study was the reduction in metabolic syndrome brought about by the two diets. The presence of metabolic syndrome increases the chances of future heart disease.
The study thus found that both the diets when accompanied by physical activity are beneficial in patients with hepatitis C infection. They help to improve the glucose control and lipid levels. They also improve the health of the liver in terms of structure and function. Thus, they should be advised along with antiviral medication in the treatment of hepatitis C patients. It is necessary that these diets should be adopted over a long term to experience the benefits.
Effects of lifestyle changes including specific dietary intervention and physical activity in the management of patients with chronic hepatitis C - a randomized trial; http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/119