Basic Diet for Fatty Liver Disease

By Leigh A. Zaykoski

Fatty liver is a condition that results in the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. This condition is not serious but must be managed with diet and medications to avoid liver cell death, oxidative stress on the liver cells, and the production and release of toxic proteins into the body. The diet for fatty liver disease focuses on helping patients to lose weight, reduce triglyceride levels and decrease liver inflammation.

Lose Weight

One of the primary focuses of the diet for fatty liver is safe weight reduction. People with fatty liver should lose no more than 1 to 2 lbs. each week and should accomplish weight loss with a combination of balanced diet and exercise. Foods that are high in saturated fat should be avoided. These include processed meats, turkey or chicken with skin, butter, egg yolks, avocados, whole-milk dairy products, cookies, muffins and cakes. People with fatty liver disease should also be careful to monitor their caloric intake; excess calories can be converted to fat that accumulates in the liver cells.

Reduce Triglycerides

Triglycerides are the chemical form of fats that come from animals and vegetables. Unused molecules are stored in the body as fat, which can lead to fat accumulation in the liver cells for people who have fatty liver disease. The diet for people with fatty liver focuses on reducing triglycerides through reducing fat and calorie intake so that excess triglyceride molecules and calories can't be turned into fat in the liver cells. Patients with this condition should avoid fatty foods and carbohydrates, since carbohydrates are often turned into triglycerides after they have been consumed.

Avoid Alcohol

Because alcohol is metabolized by the liver, drinking alcohol can impair the liver's ability to process the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This can allow fat to accumulate in the liver cells. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided and replaced with non-caffeinated drinks such as water, natural fruit juices and decaffeinated teas.

Control Diabetes

Diabetics have an added challenge in managing their fatty liver disease. Because blood sugar must be carefully controlled in people with diabetes, careful attention to diet is necessary. Avoiding processed foods and foods high in refined sugars can help diabetics keep their blood sugar at normal levels and also help to avoid allowing excess carbohydrates to be converted into fat in the liver cells. Diabetics should always consult with a physician, nutritionist or dietitian before making major changes in diet.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Even after a normal weight has been reached, it's still important for people with fatty liver disease to eat a balanced diet. Avoiding too much fat, carbohydrates and calories can help to reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver cells and reduce the oxidative stress on the liver. Lean meats and dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be eaten in the portions recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid.

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