Fatty liver disease: what to eat for the best treatment

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Fatty liver disease is characterized by an abnormal amount of fat in the liver called steatosis. If you have fat in your liver but no other damage, you are considered to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If left untreated, inflammation and damage to liver cells can occur, causing a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is associated with cirrhosis , end-stage liver disease, and liver transplantation, and is often associated with cardiovascular disease.

Dietary changes that lead to weight loss and the addition of foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can reverse or prevent disease progression. It is also important to limit your intake of refined carbohydrates, simple sugars , fried foods, processed foods, and foods rich in saturated fat .

Losing weight, especially in the abdomen or fatty tissue, can help reduce liver fat. Since fatty liver is often associated with obesity, insulin resistance , metabolic syndrome, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight loss is an important goal and diet can help.

Advantage

The cornerstone of any treatment for NAFLD patients is lifestyle changes aimed at losing weight, exercising, changing behavior, and increasing insulin sensitivity. Slow and steady weight loss is recommended rather than rapid weight loss. Research shows that rapid weight loss can make fatty liver worse.

Diet plays an important role in weight loss, and people with fatty liver disease pay special attention to certain nutrients. Reducing simple carbohydrates and saturated fat can reverse or prevent disease progression.

In most cases, there are no symptoms of fatty liver disease, but it is often associated with central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance. These health problems can cause many other symptoms, such as lack of energy, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Losing weight can help improve these symptoms and conditions.

A large randomized controlled trial showed that participants who lost more than 7% or equal of their body weight had significant improvements in terms of steatosis, lobular inflammation, and NAFLD activity score.

Researchers suggest that weight loss of as little as 5% can lead to improvement. It is recommended that you avoid sudden weight fluctuations and start losing about 1 to 2 pounds per week (which means a reduction of 500 to 1000 calories per day).

How does it work

Specific macronutrient recommendations are likely to differ from person to person. However, some studies have shown that eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (with a focus on unsaturated fats) is beneficial for people with obese liver.

In fact, in a study in which people with NAFLD were randomized to low-calorie diets with the same number of calories but different proportions of macronutrients, those who received less carbohydrate (40% versus 60%) and more fat (45% versus 25%). %) diet improved liver function tests.

Some research suggests that following a low-carb diet with lower glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates can improve NAFLD. The glycemic index can be challenging, but simply choosing low-glycemic foods (rather than calculating the glycemic load) can also help lower blood sugar and hyperinsulinemia.

Polyunsaturated fats ( omega-3 and omega-6 ) are also in the spotlight for their anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties. Some examples of recommended foods are oily fish and walnuts.

Duration

A personalized eating plan based on dietary and lifestyle preferences is important because it is not a temporary diet, but rather a lifestyle change. If the diet is too strict and is only followed for a certain period of time, old eating patterns will resume and you will gain weight again, again putting you at risk for fatty liver and related diseases.

What is it

Eating a healthy diet is important to everyone, but people with fatty liver disease need to be especially careful about what they eat.

The Federal Dietary Guidelines, published jointly by the USDA and USDA, recommend that people consider the following dietary guidelines when choosing foods:

  • Half of your plate with meals should be fruits and vegetables. Focus on whole fruits and vary your veggies.
  • Half of the grains you eat should be whole grains.
  • Change protein sources.
  • Switch to low-fat or low-fat milk and yogurt (or non-fat fortified versions).
  • Choose foods and beverages that are low in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
Compatible Products

  • Whole grains: oats, 100% ground wheat, barley, bulgur, farro, wheat fruits, brown rice.

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas (preferably dried, not canned).

  • Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, turnips, yams.

  • Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower.

  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts, seeds, almonds, cashews, pistachios.

  • Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado

  • Lean protein: white meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, pork, vegetable protein

  • Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, sardines

  • Fruits: berries, kiwi, apple, orange, lemon.

  • Low-fat dairy: Low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat kefir.

  • Herbs: basil, coriander, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemongrass, lavender

Incompatible products

  • Refined carbohydrates: white bread, white rice, bagels, white pasta, boxed foods.

  • Sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, sugar.

  • Trans fat and saturated fat: margarine, processed baked goods, fried foods, baked goods, fatty beef, non-fat cheese, prepackaged / packaged foods.

  • Refined snacks: French fries, pretzels, crackers, rice cakes.

  • Sweet drinks: carbonated drinks, juices, sports drinks.

  • Sweets: cookies, cakes, ice cream, donuts, desserts.

  • Processed fatty meats: sausage, bacon, mortadella, liverwort, prosciutto.

Whole grains: Whole grains, especially those with a lower glycemic index, such as whole oats, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber . They promote satiety and cleanse the intestines, and they are also an excellent substitute for refined white carbohydrates.

Legumes: A vegetarian source of protein and fiber, legumes are complex carbohydrates that help keep you full and reduce large swings in blood sugar. They are also low in fat.

Starchy Vegetables – These complex carbohydrates are also rich in phytonutrients, fiber, and vitamins like vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is also important for boosting immunity.

Non-starchy vegetables: High in fiber and low in calories, non-starchy vegetables should be the base of most meals. They are bulky and rich in nutrients. Vegetables like artichokes, leeks, and garlic, which are rich in oligofructose, can lower serum triglyceride and glucose levels.

Walnuts, Seeds, Walnuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts like walnuts can help lower triglycerides and lipids. They can also reduce inflammation. Try to eat raw, unsalted foods whenever possible.

Lean Protein – Protein is important for your muscles and helps you stay full. Compared to high-fat protein, lean protein contains fewer calories and less saturated fat, which can help you lose weight. For example, replacing 3 ounces of ground beef with 3 ounces of chicken can save about 150 calories.

Low-Fat Yogurt, Kefir – Rich in calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics, low-fat dairy can be a healthy option. Research has shown that probiotics can help alter bacteria in the gut that may play a role in the development of NAFLD and the progression of NASH.

Fatty Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon can help reduce triglycerides and liver fat.

Fruits: Fruits like berries and kiwi are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are more likely to ed to maintain a healthy weight and lower body mass index.

Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices add flavor and are rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation. They are low in calories and contain no fat.

Some studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin E can help reduce fatty liver disease. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements. Always focus on food first; spinach is a good option.

Recommended time

There are no specific dietary guidelines, meal times, or times to follow. Rather, it should be a complete lifestyle change tailored to your specific needs with a focus on weight loss.

Most people trying to lose weight typically need three meals a day and one or two snacks a day to get proper nutrition and avoid overeating. Meals and snacks should contain fiber and protein, which will keep you full and prevent sudden fluctuations in blood sugar levels that lead to cravings and overeating.

It may be helpful to practice the plate method . Half of his plate is dedicated to non-starchy vegetables, a quarter to lean proteins such as white meat, chicken, fish, lean pork, turkey, and a quarter to starchy vegetables or vegetables. whole grains.

Some examples of suitable starch servings include: 1 medium potato, 2/3 to 1 cup of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, calf, bulgur, wheat berries, or 1 whole grain wrap.

Cooking tips

Low-fat cooking methods should be used. These include grilling, baking, broiling, grating, and braising. When cooking vegetables, marinating proteins, or dressing salads, try using unsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and canola oil. Saturated fats like butter, cream, and whole milk should be limited or avoided.

It is also recommended to season your food with fresh and dried herbs and spices .

Modifications

A healthy diet that promotes weight loss will reverse fatty liver disease or prevent its progression. It can also cause a drop in blood pressure, cholesterol, lipids, and blood sugar.

The exact diet you choose can vary. The Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the low-carb diet can all work. Some people, especially those with diabetes, may also benefit from a ketogenic diet (however, this type of diet has not been specifically studied for people with fatty liver disease and should be guided by a professional).

There may be some contraindications depending on whether you are taking certain medications or not. For example, people taking Coumadin (warfarin) are advised to consume a diet consistent with vitamin K and therefore should monitor their intake of non-starchy vegetables rich in vitamin K, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, etc. .

Additionally, people with diabetes who also have NAFLD should regularly monitor their blood sugar levels and stay in contact with their doctors to prevent hypoglycemia, since reducing carbohydrate intake will lead to lower blood sugar levels. In most cases, weight loss and decreased carbohydrate intake will indicate the need to reduce or change diabetes medications.

Considerations

There is no single or special diet for fatty liver disease. Your eating plan should promote weight loss and be part of an overall lifestyle change that you will make for the rest of your life.

Finding what works for you and committing to it can be challenging and time consuming. Seeking the help of a dietitian can help you be successful.

Stability and flexibility

Since there are no completely forbidden foods on this diet and the emphasis is on choosing healthier foods, this diet is sustainable.

Start slowly and take the time to replace it. If you continue to substitute healthier junk food, you will feel more energetic and healthier overall, which will likely motivate you to continue your efforts.

You can follow this eating plan on the road, at work, and at home. The key to this meal plan is to eat as much whole foods as possible.

Today, healthy food options are available anywhere, be it at the airport, the convenience store, or the supermarket. You can always find something if you focus on your choice.

If you're unsure about having access to adequate food when you're out and about, consider buying a snack at home before hitting the road. For example, put some raw almonds in a bag and put them in your pocket.

A healthy food delivery service can be a great option if you don't like to cook or are short on time.

Get the word of drug information

The exact distribution of macronutrients in your diet will depend on many factors, including pre-existing health conditions, age, activity level, weight, etc. But the goals of a healthy diet for someone with fatty liver disease remain the same no matter what: lose weight (no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week), include nutritious whole foods in your diet, and cut down on simple carbohydrates, added sugars and processed foods.

When working on a diet change, pay attention to behavior change, exercise, and goal setting. A healthier lifestyle begins today.

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