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Diet Plan for People With Fatty Liver

written by: Dr. Kristie Leong • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 12/12/2010

If you have a nonalcoholic fatty liver, it's important to choose what you eat and how much you eat. This condition can be controlled and even reversed by making the right food choices. What's the best diet plan for fatty liver?

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    Have you been told you have fatty liver disease? Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects up to five percent of Americans and is more common in people who are overweight and have diabetes. Left untreated, fatty liver leads to inflammation of the liver, and, in some cases, cirrhosis and liver failure. Not surprisingly, lifestyle habits and dietary choices play a role in the progression of this condition, and dietary changes are one of the most effective ways to stop or even reverse this disease. What diet plan for fatty liver is best?

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    Diet Plan for Fatty Liver: The Importance of Weight Loss

    The most important step a person with fatty liver can take to reverse fatty liver is to lose weight. People with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease usually have insulin resistance, and losing weight helps to restore their sensitivity to insulin. This, in turn, reduces fat accumulation in the liver. Losing excess weight will go far towards preventing the progression of fatty liver disease and even reverse it, but choosing an appropriate diet plan for fatty liver is important too.

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    Choosing the Right Diet for Fatty Liver: Is Low-Carbohydrate Best?

    To lose weight and reverse fatty liver disease, it's necessary to consume fewer calories than you burn off, but diet composition is also a factor. Many people with nonalcoholic fatty liver benefit most from a low-carbohydrate diet since a diet low in carbohydrates helps to reverse some of the insulin resistance typically seen with this condition. A low-carbohydrate diet forces the body to burn more fat as fuel, and some of that fat comes from excess fat in the liver. Weight loss on a low-carbohydrate diet may be more substantial too, but also more difficult to maintain long-term.

    A diet plan for fatty liver that emphasizes low-glycemic carbohydrates may also be an effective approach to reversing fatty liver. Low-glycemic carbs don’t trigger the same surge in insulin as high-glycemic carbohydrates and when less insulin is produced, less fat is stored in areas such as the liver.

    To eat more low-glycemic carbs, substitute whole grains and vegetables for higher glycemic carbs such as white potatoes, white rice, pasta and white bread. Eliminate processed and packaged foods as much as possible, because they usually contain excess sugar and carbohydrates. Substitute whole grain bread for white bread - and vegetables in place of potatoes, pasta or white rice. Drink unsweetened green tea as a substitute for soft drinks. In mice, green tea extract is beneficial for fatty liver, and high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks may worsen it.

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    Diet for Fatty Liver: Get More Vitamin C and Vitamin E

    Studies show that vitamins C and E may help to reverse or prevent progression of fatty liver disease. Researchers believe that oxidative stress plays a role in this condition, and vitamins C and E are both strong antioxidant vitamins. Nuts, seeds and green, leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin E, while citrus fruits, red bell peppers and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C. Include a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet to get more of these vitamins.

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    The Bottom Line?

    Selecting the right diet for fatty liver can have a significant impact on the course of this disease. Choose wisely.

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    References

    Medscape.com. “Review: Treatment Options for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Treatment”

    Nutraingredients.com. “Green Tea Shows Benefits Against Fatty Liver