Question: Should I be worried about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
Answer: Yes, you should be concerned. You need to learn what you can do to reverse this progressive disease.
Your liver is one of the largest organs in your body, and essential for life. When you have a fatty liver (non-alcoholic liver disease, acronym NAFLD), it is because liver cells become filled with fat. NAFLD is strongly linked to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) and cardiovascular disease. And eventually, your liver can fail.
Though there is no effective medical treatment for NAFLD, you can treat and reverse this condition by changing your diet and lifestyle.
Being overweight is the main reason why people develop NAFLD. The fat deposited in our body is constantly releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream, which then travels to the liver. Weight reduction, on the other hand, leads to a decrease in liver fat content. Physical activity along with dietary interventions can also reduce the fat content of the liver.
Along with being overweight, eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods and saturated fats contribute to this disease.
Foods To Select include:
- minimally processed, high fiber carbohydrates (vegetables, grains, starchy vegetables)
- plant-based protein
- healthy fats such as olive oil and omega-3-fats
- Mediterranean Pattern
Foods To Avoid include:
- ultra-refined carbohydrates, particularly high fructose corn syrup
- saturated fats and trans fats
- Western Pattern
The goal of diet therapy is to include those foods which may decrease the accumulation of fat and increase inflammation, while reducing those foods which contribute to the development of the disease.
Rikard Landberg, Does Whole-Grain Intake Matter for the Risk of Developing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 152, Issue 4, April 2022, Pages 924–925.
Berná, G, Romero-Gomez, M. The role of nutrition in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Pathophysiology and management. Liver Int. 2020; 40(Suppl. 1): 102– 108.