Fatty Liver: Simple dietary strategies to manage the condition


Too much fat accumulation is not only unhealthy for the body but also the liver “because fat build-up in your liver can lead to fatty liver issues,” said Dr Praveen Jha, MD, DM, Consultant Gastroenterology, Regency Superspeciality Hospital, Lucknow.

He explained that a liver is called a fatty liver when more than 5 percent of it is fat. “While consuming too much alcohol gives rise to fatty liver, there are still many cases of fatty liver disease that are not because of alcohol intake. A number of fatty liver conditions fall under the broad category of non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), which is one of the most common liver diseases in adults and children in India,” he told indianexpress.com.

The unfortunate part about NAFLD is that it often gets undiagnosed because the symptoms — fatigue, tiredness and weakness — often get ignored or mistaken for lack of sleep or a hectic schedule. Another common symptom of alcoholic fatty liver is nausea. “If the disease has led to an advanced complication, then you may have all the signs and symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver such as loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin, itching, easy bruising and tiredness. With the passage of time, undiagnosed NAFLD causes serious liver conditions called as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) besides other NCDs including heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease” said Dr Jha.

Dietary strategies for getting rid of fatty liver

∙ Cut back on carbs, especially refined carbs

According to various research, only 16 percent of liver fat comes from your diet and a major part arrives from the fatty acids in the blood. So, it’s essential that we control our diet as excess carbohydrates in our body often get converted into fat. The accumulation of fat in the liver increases with the consumption of fructose-rich foods and beverages. So, if you’re on a fruit diet, the chances are that your body weight will increase by 2 percent but your fat accumulation in your liver will increase by 27 percent.

∙ Include foods that promote loss of liver fat

In addition to cutting back on carbs and avoiding excess calorie intake, there are certain foods and beverages that may be beneficial for fatty liver. To promote liver fat loss, one should have a diet rich in olive oil, nuts and avocados. You can also take protein because it has been found that protein reduces liver fat by 20 percent. Even catechins present in green tea decreases liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD.

∙ Quench your thirst with water

In summers, there is a tendency to gorge on fruit juices as compared to drinking water. But, fruit juice isn’t advisable to drink when you have fatty liver diseases. Fruit juice can increase fat accumulation in the body. Drink water because it helps the liver move toxins through its own cellular systems and speed them on their way out of your body.

Exercise can help reduce liver fat

Usually, a person with a BMI over 30 is prone to this disease. Physical activity is essential to reduce both body and liver fat. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has also been shown to be beneficial for decreasing liver fat. Even low-intensity exercises are equally beneficial. But one needs to do it regularly. 

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