Fatty liver disease is something that so many people suffer from and don’t even know it. It’s truly a silent epidemic, as you don’t feel the symptoms from it. It sneaks up on you, causes inflammation and can truly make you quite sick down the line.
A fatty liver is also known as hepatic steatosis. Steatosis literally means the accumulation of lipids in a cell that shouldn’t be accumulating there, and hepatic is just another word for liver.
Fatty liver disease is when 5-10% of your liver’s weight is made up of fat.
How does it happen? Well, it’s through something known as denovo lipogenesis, the process of converting carbs into fat. So you don’t get a fatty liver from consuming fat, you get a fatty liver from excess carbohydrate consumption. This basically means your body is unable to use all the fatty acids that are being generated from carbs, and as a result, they get stored in your liver.
Why is this bad? Over time, it can scar your liver. If you have a fatty liver, it starts rendering the cells somewhat useless, so they scar very similarly to an alcoholic cirrhosis. You don’t even have to touch a drop of alcohol, and still end up with the long-term effects as someone who’s drinking a lot of alcohol.
Having a fatty liver is not a hopeless situation…
There are steps you can take to regain your health or help prevent fatty liver disease.
Here are 5 easy ways you can start taking back control of your liver or at least prevent the hepatic steatosis that could cause a problem in the future:
Drink Less Alcohol
Every time you consume alcohol, your liver is prioritizing it. When it’s prioritizing alcohol, everything else takes a back seat. This includes lipid and sugar metabolism, which means that you have much more of a conversion to fatty acids that aren’t going to be utilized and further oxidize/not oxidize and just hang out in your liver. So, plain and simple, if you drink alcohol, your body metabolizes the alcohol, and more carbs get stored as fat in the liver. I’m not saying that you have to quit cold turkey, or never drink alcohol again. You just have to take a break and allow some time to recover!
Avoid Foods With A Lot of Added Sugars
Dietary sugars such as fructose and sucrose have been linked to the development of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Research from 2017 describes how these sugars contribute to fat buildup in the liver.
Although they taste great- many of the culprits are things we find in our grocery store
- Baked goods: cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, and pies
- Ice cream
- Sugary cereals
- Soft drinks, Sports drinks and Energy drinks
If you want to know what the foods you eat have in them- always be sure to read a food label before buying anything- especially packaged and processed food.
Added sugar content will often be sucrose, fructose, and maltose.
Other sugars commonly added are:
- Cane sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
Lose Excess Weight
It recommends that those with NAFLD lose between 3 and 5 percent of their body weight to reduce any fatty buildup in the liver. It also states that losing between 7 and 10 percent of body weight can improve other symptoms of NAFLD, such as inflammation, fibrosis, and scarring.
Exercise is always crucial for a healthy weight. Staying active is great for our overall health- and this can be especially important for our liver. Fasting and extreme diets are often unsustainable, and they can be hard on your liver. So be sure to look into weight loss in a healthy manner and approach.
Try An Omega-3 Supplement
There are some forms of fats that can be beneficial to our health. Omega-3 fatty acids are on the top of that list. They are polyunsaturated fats found in foods such as oily fish and some nuts and seeds.
Watch Out For High Cholesterol
For those with NAFLD- it can make it harder for your body to manage cholesterol on its own. This can worsen NAFLD and even increase your risk of heart disease.
Try to limit your intake of certain types of fats.
Fats to avoid include:
- Saturated fats-found in meats and full-fat dairy products.
- Trans fats-found in processed baked goods, crackers, and fried foods.
We only get one body- so we need to look after it, from the inside out!
If you have a fatty liver- follow some of these tips and bring your liver back to health- naturally!