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An isocaloric low-carbohydrate diet given to obese humans with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease resulted in decreased liver fat, improved lipid metabolism, and reduced inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers after two weeks (pilot study with 10 people).

A surprising finding from this study was the increase in serum folate levels due to an increase in folate-producing bacteria in the gut. Folate is a micronutrient that is richly found in green leafy vegetables. It appears that restricting carbohydrates at least for a very short period can result in a boost in bacteria that produce folate. It is unclear how long this microbiome shift can be sustained since this study only lasted two weeks.

While the findings of this study are interesting, the results need to be replicated in larger studies that investigate the effects of a low-carb diet for a longer period.

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