Fatty Liver Diet – Friend And Foe Foods To Reduce Fat In The Liver
Without a nutrient-rich fatty liver diet in place, it can be extremely difficult to reduce the effects of steatosis and fatty liver disease (FDL). FDL is present in millions of people worldwide, particularly those who suffer from other conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although benign and asymptomatic in many patients, if the disease is not regulated and kept under control, it can progress into a life threatening ailment through cirrhosis, liver cancer, and eventually total liver failure.
The liver is an amazing organ with over 200 functions. It has often been called the body’s “chemical factory” and is a built-in, natural filter. It is also a storehouse for fats, vitamins, and minerals and produces up to 24 oz of bile per day.
Bile is important in the emulsification of fat in the intestines. Emulsification refers to the process of breaking down large fat globules into smaller ones. The liver is also the only organ in the human body capable of regeneration. If it shuts down, death can occur within 24 hours.
Is Fat In The Liver Normal?
You may already know excess fat in the body is often stored in adipocytes (fat cells) in areas such as the belly and thighs. So why does fat get into the liver in the first place?
First, it is important to understand fat in the liver accumulates as triglycerides and not as adipocytes. It’s perfectly normal for small amounts to show up and be stored in the liver. Reasons for this include:
Fat metabolism occurs mostly in the liver.
Under some circumstances, such as when a person experiences hypoglycemia, the liver will convert glycogen to fatty acids.
Fatty acids are converted into energy in the liver when stores of glucose (the main energy source for the body) run low.
Since fat is not water-soluble, lipoproteins carry fatty acids both from and to the liver to be processed.
With all these processes involving fat occurring in the liver, it only makes sense for some fat to be stored there. However, when fat makes up more than 5-10% of the liver by weight, a fatty liver occurs.
Diet plays a key role in reducing a fatty liver. Clearly the greatest foe is fat itself. Therefore, high fat foods should be avoided. Lean cuts of white meat, such as chicken and turkey, should replace fried and/or dark meats such as beef. Alcohol, as well as high sugar fruit juices and energy drinks, should be avoided.
Instead, try to focus a fatty liver diet plan on liver friendly foods such as fruits and vegetables (greens, leaves, and vitamin C rich foods) and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates break down slowly, giving the body a slow, steady source of energy.
Simple carbohydrates, like those found in sweets, should be avoided because they break down quickly and are used rapidly by the body. When the body uses these carbohydrates too fast, it then switches to converting protein to energy which can be taxing for the liver. Protein is better used for producing hemoglobin, an important blood component that takes oxygen to cells throughout the body.