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What’s the best diet for fatty liver disease?

28 January 2020 in Health

As non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is caused by a build-up of fat in the liver, making changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to improve the condition.

But which foods should you eat if you have fatty liver disease and which should you avoid?

Foods to eat for fatty liver disease

If you have fatty liver disease, you should aim to eat foods that help to reduce fat in your liver. These include fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and foods that are rich in antioxidants.

Following a Mediterranean diet is worth considering, as this includes many of the foods that help to lower fat levels in the liver.

Slow-release, starchy foods like wholemeal bread, oats and brown rice are beneficial. And you should eat a small amount of healthy fats, like those found in nuts, oily fish, olives, avocados and flaxseeds.

If you normally drink a lot of sweetened tea, coffee or fruit juice, you may find that switching to water or unsweetened tea helps you lose weight without making big changes to your diet.

And if you’re used to larger portions at mealtimes, try to cut down, as smaller portions of food can be helpful for fatty liver disease.

Foods to avoid for fatty liver disease

To help manage fatty liver disease, cut down on high-calorie foods like fried foods. You should also aim to reduce your intake of saturated fats, typically found in red meat and dairy products.

Try to stay away from food and drinks that contain added sugar, such as fruit juices and soda. This is because high blood sugar levels can increase the amount of fat in the liver. It’s also best to cut down on alcohol and processed foods, such as white bread and pasta.

What about liver cleanses?

Some liver cleanses claim they can break down unwanted fat, improve liver function or ‘flush’ harmful toxins out of your system. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that liver cleanses can actually improve fatty liver disease.

Instead of trying a liver cleanse, why not get a little more exercise or give up smoking to reduce strain on your liver? Both actions are medically recognised ways to improve fatty liver disease, and will improve your general health.

Weight loss and fatty liver disease

Studies show that losing at least 3 to 5% of your total body weight can help to reduce the amount of fat in your liver. Losing up to 10% of your body weight can help to reduce liver inflammation.

But be careful about losing weight too quickly, as this can put a strain on your liver and make fatty liver disease worse. Always aim to lose weight slowly and speak to a doctor or dietician for advice on safe ways to lose weight.

References:

Dyson J, Anstee Q, McPherson S. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a practical approach to diagnosis and staging. 2020. Available here.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms and treatment [Internet]. Nhsinform.scot. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Tidy D. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease [Internet]. Patient.info. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Fatty liver disease | Health Information | Bupa UK [Internet]. Bupa.co.uk. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Information H, Disease L, NASH N, NASH T, Center T, Health N. Treatment for NAFLD & NASH | NIDDK [Internet]. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) - NICE CKS [Internet]. Cks.nice.org.uk. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Dietary Advice For Specific Liver Conditions - British Liver Trust [Internet]. British Liver Trust. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Information H, Disease L, NASH N, Eating &, Eating &, Center T et al. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for NAFLD & NASH | NIDDK [Internet]. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Fatty Liver Diet: What Foods to Eat and What Foods to Avoid [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Water, drinks and your health [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Cold F, Health E, Disease H, Disease L, Management P, Conditions S et al. Best Diet for Fatty Liver Disease [Internet]. WebMD. 2020 [cited 21 January 2020]. Available here.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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