Fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), refers to the accumulation of fat in the liver that isn’t caused by alcohol consumption.
It often occurs alongside insulin resistance, a condition in which the body can’t properly regulate blood sugar levels, and it can lead to severe liver scarring or even liver cancer.
Although there’s no guaranteed way to prevent NAFLD, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing it. One of these is to avoid eating the following 10 foods if you have fatty liver.
If you have fatty liver, you want to avoid alcohol at all costs. Alcoholic beverages are chock-full of empty calories, and they promote a condition called fatty liver, which is basically a buildup of fat inside your liver cells.
By avoiding alcohol as part of your fatty liver diet, you’ll help lower your risk for inflammation, protect yourself from additional damage, and decrease your likelihood of experiencing complications with your treatment regimen in the future.
Bottom line: It’s best to steer clear of alcoholic beverages when you have a fatty liver. Period.
2) Processed Foods
Processed foods have a high amount of trans fats, which can cause damage to your liver in a variety of ways. These foods should be avoided at all costs for anyone suffering from fatty liver.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men with liver disease had more than twice as much trans fat in their blood than those without.
Trans fats are also made in large factories, so they’re highly processed, and they aren’t produced naturally by our bodies or by animals we eat (think beef or chicken). Instead, they’re derived from partially hydrogenated oils, which means that you may also want to avoid some fried food on your fatty liver diet plan.
Unfortunately, most people don’t even realize that these types of oils are damaging to their health.
3) Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks are a no-no for anyone struggling with liver issues; increased consumption of soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks can contribute to fatty liver disease.
This is especially true for sugary drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. And don’t think you can get away with it once in a while—binge drinking one day isn’t any better than doing it regularly.
If you have fatty liver disease, your best bet is to eliminate all sugary beverages from your diet altogether. A good rule of thumb is to limit sweetened beverages to an occasional treat—just make sure they’re alcohol-free!
4) Beans, Peas, Lentils
One study in rats showed that long-term consumption of diets rich in fatty acids, particularly omega-6 fatty acids (which are found in most vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil), significantly increases fat accumulation in both liver and fat tissue. Beans, peas and lentils contain high amounts of both types of fatty acids.
Simply put: these foods contribute to an unhealthy buildup of fat.
5) Whole Grains
Avoiding grains with gluten, such as wheat, barley and rye is important, but not eating enough whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and millet can lead to fatty liver disease.
Research shows that consuming whole grains can help reduce your body’s ability to absorb fats and cholesterol; therefore, it’s essential to include these healthy carbs in your diet if you’re at risk for fatty liver disease.
The recommended amount of fibre in a healthy diet is between 20-30 grams per day—but you should consider increasing your intake to 30-40 grams each day if you have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease.
To get started, try adding two slices of sprouted bread or a serving of cooked oats (1/2 cup) into your daily routine.
One of the most popular liver-friendly diet tips involves fibre. Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Fibre can help cleanse your system and prevent further damage to your liver because it absorbs toxins. Two servings of fresh fruits and four servings of fresh vegetables are recommended for a healthy fatty liver diet (people with diabetes or heart disease may need to consume more).
Fibrous whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa are also great options. Try experimenting with some unconventional vegetables like beet greens or spinach—they’re both packed with fibre! You may find that you like them much better than iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value.
The most difficult part of a fatty liver diet is that you’ll need to limit your carbohydrate intake. With your insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, all kinds of carbs can cause problems for you. White bread, white rice, refined sugars and kinds of pasta are all high-carb foods that should be eliminated or at least greatly reduced in your daily diet.
Your carb intake should be approximately 50 grams per day or less; however, you may have to adjust it as necessary depending on how your body responds to what you eat.
Make sure to keep track of everything because as much as weight loss is about dieting, it’s also about monitoring what works best for your body. Do not exceed 100 grams of carbohydrates on any given day.
8) Protein Sources
Unless you are a vegetarian, likely, you regularly eat some sort of meat or seafood. Unfortunately, both protein sources have a high-fat content. When choosing your protein source at lunch or dinner time, look for grilled or baked varieties to keep your meal low in fats.
Lean meat cuts such as chicken breasts and fish contain less than 3 grams of fat per serving and most are often available in quick-cooking portions like salads and wraps so you can take them with you on the go without any preparation required.
If red meat is something you crave from time to time, look for leaner versions (97% lean ground beef versus 90% lean) or opt for a smaller portion instead of an entire steak.
Most vegetables are great for your liver and for weight loss in general. For starters, they’re filling and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They can also boost your metabolism to help you lose weight fast. Additionally, many of them are high in fibre, which helps slow digestion so you stay full longer—this helps reduce overeating and bad snacking habits. Try incorporating these vegetables into your diet
10) Healthy Fats
Some fats are good for you. Most people realize that but only when they’re told which ones they should be eating and which ones they should avoid.
For example, many health professionals recommend that between 40 to 50 per cent of your daily fat intake should come from monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
The remaining percentage? Saturated fats — like those found in meats and dairy products — and trans fats — typically found in processed foods — should make up a maximum of about 5 to 15 per cent of your total daily fat intake.
If you suffer from fatty liver disease, however, most doctors will recommend a diet that’s closer to 20 per cent saturated fat and 30 per cent trans fat or less. Read more…