Fatty liver – also known as steatosis – is most commonly seen in people who are overweight or who have diabetes. It is becoming increasingly prevalent in Western countries due to the increasing rate of overweight and obesity.
How does it occur?
If you eat or drink excessively, your body will take the excess calories and convert them in to fat. Some of this fat is stored in the liver cells. The fat in the liver cells can build up and if not broken down adequately, the individual is diagnosed as having a fatty liver. A fatty liver can also occur with rapid weight loss – another reason gradual weight loss is advisable.
Fortunately for most people a fatty liver won’t have any serious impacts if lifestyle changes are made. Sometimes people can feel more tired and generally unwell with this condition. In some circumstances, fatty liver can worsen and cause scarring to the liver, known as cirrhosis. In very serious cases, liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer, though this is uncommon.
The main management of a fatty liver is gradual weight loss and following a diet low in saturated fat. Tips to decrease your fat consumption:
- Trim any visible fat off meat.
- Buy lean cuts of meat – the less marbling the better.
- Remove the skin from poultry.
- Use minimal amounts of oil in cooking.
- Avoid frequent use of coconut oil/cream/milk.
- Limit takeaway and indulgent meals eaten out.
- Limit pastries, chocolates and other discretionary items.
Other healthy tips
- Aim for 5 serves of vegetables each day and 2 pieces of fruit
- Get a variety of grain products, not just bread and pasta.
- Include healthy fats in your diet e.g. avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid juice and soft drink
- Limit alcohol consumption – another important one for fatty liver.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about nutrition, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!