In her book, “Fatty Liver Diet Guide”, veteran liver nurse, Dorothy Spencer, states, “There is in fact little difference between the regular diet between healthy people and fatty liver patients. The main point is to reduce the fat content and encourage the body to fully utilize the calories for energy so that there will be no excess storage of fat and carbohydrates.” She goes on to stress the importance of regulation, balance, and incorporating all food groups through a highly nutritional diet.
The best diet plan for reducing a fatty liver will vary from patient to patient. When it comes to fatty liver disease (FLD), there are many factors at play, and the underlying causes of the problem must be identified before proper nutritional advice can be given.
FLD is generally broken down into two types: alcoholic (AFL) and non-alcoholic (NAFLD). Alcoholic fatty liver disease has one primary cause: the excessive consumption of alcohol.
The ethanol found in alcoholic beverages contributes to excessive fat accumulation in the liver because it blocks the oxidation of fatty acids in the liver, and it inhibits the release of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the bloodstream which are responsible for moving fatty acids out of the liver. When more fat moves into the liver than out of it, fat accumulation and storage occurs. AFL can generally be reversed by removing alcohol from the diet.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a more complex condition. NAFLD can be caused by a wide variety of things which include, but are not limited to, a high-fat diet, obesity, type 2 diabetes (diabetes milletus), hyperinsulinemia, and metabolic disorders. Dietary changes and weight loss are the best ways to combat and reverse NAFLD.
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts when making changes that incorporate a fatty liver diet plan aimed at reducing excess fat in the liver into your lifestyle.
- Do eat vitamin and mineral rich foods, particularly those high in B-complex vitamins, folate (folic acid), manganese, selenium, and sulfur
- Do follow a balanced diet and avoid excessive eating
- Don’t eat high-fat foods, particularly those high in saturated fats
- Don’t consume alcohol and/or high sugar drinks like energy drinks and soda
- Do exercise regularly to lose weight gradually rather than trying for a “lose it all at once” solution
- Don’t eat large amounts of dark meats or fried foods
- Do eat lean white meats such as chicken or turkey
- Do eat vegetables daily, particularly greens and leaves
- Do eat fruits daily, particular citrus fruits high in vitamin C
- Do eat complex carbohydrates such as those found in brown rice and whole grains
- Don’t eat simple carbohydrates such as those found in candy and desserts
- Do eat foods high in fiber