Diet and Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Study

Chief Investigator: Professor Guruprasad Aithal

Local Researchers: Amina Al-Awadi, Dr. Jane Grove, Dr. Moira Taylor and Dr Ana Valdes

Background Information

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing global health problem which may arise as a consequence of dietary habits and inactive lifestyle. It develops when a person’s liver cells consist of more than 5% of fat. People with NAFLD often suffers from recurrent high blood sugar which puts them at high risk of developing diabetes. We think that liver fat accumulation is highly affected by eating certain foods with high Glycemic index (GI) foods (meaning that they result in higher blood sugar levels soon after being eaten) on daily basis. So, a diet containing more foods with low GI could be beneficial to treat or manage NAFLD. The GI of food is a ranking system of carbohydrates on a scale from 0- 100 depending on how quickly each type of carbohydrate raise blood sugar after eating. Foods with GI ˃70 are ranked as high GI foods, whereas foods with GI ˂ 55 are low GI foods. Consumption of a large amount or proportion of high GI foods is linked to higher levels of specific bacteria in the gut (called gut microbiota) which may trigger increased liver fat accumulation.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to compare liver fat levels in people with NAFLD after following a low GI diet versus a high GI diet. We propose two different diets, each to be followed for 2 weeks by all study participants. We will also examine their gut bacteria composition before and after each period. This will help us to develop treatment and strategies to manage the factors that increase NAFLD progression.

We are looking for adults:

With non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Male and female between 18-65 years old.

Not participating in any other trial or on any special diets (e.g. vegetarian).

Not on any medication related to diabetes or gastrointestinal disorders.

Not having any food allergies or intolerance to the food on the study diet.

Willing to stop taking probiotics, foods high in fibre etc. 1 week prior to starting and during the course of the study.

What you will need to do:


2 short screening visits in the Biomedical Research Centre, QMC

Complete 7-day food record and food and physical activity questionnaires

4 morning visits at SPMIC for MRI scan, Fibroscan, blood tests and stool samples collection


2 types of diets at different time periods. Each lasting for 2 weeks.


Your food intake during each 2 week study periods

Any inconvenience allowance will be paid.

All prepared food will be provided for each of the 2 week periods.

Please contact the study team: