Little is known about the impact of dietary factors on the progression of liver disease.
Dr Ioannou and colleagues from Washington, USA determined whether dietary intake was associated with the risk of cirrhosis-related or liver cancer-related death or hospitalization in the U.S. population.
Participants included 9221 persons aged 25-74 years without evidence of cirrhosis at entry into the study or during the first 5 years of follow-up.
The participants were subsequently followed for a mean of 13 years as part of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The team found dietary intake was ascertained at baseline using a 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire.
|1% of participants had a diagnosis of cirrhosis or liver cancer |
During follow-up, 123 of 9221 participants had a diagnosis of cirrhosis or liver cancer in hospitalization records or death certificates.
Of these, 36 were diagnosed only on the basis of death certificates.
The researchers found that participants who reported a diet high in protein were at a higher risk of hospitalization or death due to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Those who reported a diet high in carbohydrates were at a lower risk.
The team observed that total fat consumption was not significantly associated with the risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Cholesterol consumption was associated with higher risk, whereas serum cholesterol level was not associated with risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Dr Ioannou's team concluded, “Diet may be an important and potentially modifiable determinant of liver disease.”