If a layman is asked what is the meaning of fatty liver? He would reply – it means that the liver has become fat. Does fatty liver really mean this? Yes, a liver which is full of fats is called a fatty liver. If a liver stores more than 5 percent of the fats then it is referred as fatty liver. It is one of the major chronic disease and is caused due to the inflammation of the liver. It is the most common disease affecting millions of people worldwide and people are not even aware of it. They don’t even know if they have a fatty liver or not.
What causes fatty liver at the first place?
More than fats, it is the sugar that leads to a fatty liver. When we eat sugar in our diet, our liver starts producing fats by a process known as lipogenesis. Fructose corn syrup a form of sugar which is found in all soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, candy bars, sweetened yogurt, frozen junk foods, white bread, breakfast cereals, pastries, ice cream and many more. It increases lipogenesis dramatically and thus the liver fats increases. Fructose is also found in sodas therefore making soda’s high in their calorific value and a source of fatty liver. Other causes includes: long term injury, alcohol abuse, lots of medications, obesity or hepatitis.
How do you understand if you have a fatty liver?
If you are craving for carbohydrates, sugar, starch or you tend to eat more of sugar and flour, you probably have a fatty liver. Blood tests can confirm if you have a fatty liver but sometimes blood reports are normal even though you have a fatty liver. So ultrasound confirms if you have a fatty liver or not.
If you have a fatty liver, do you need to worry?
Fatty liver is associated with many chronic diseases. It causes inflammation and extra fat produced is stored in liver and other organs. It can lead to insulin resistance and thus cause diabetes later. It lowers the HDL, increases the LDL especially smaller particles of LDL and triglycerides. All the factors together can lead to heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases.
Is there any way to fix it completely?
One has to make changes in their diet and lifestyle. Eliminate or avoid animal, dairy and processed foods which is high in sugar and saturated fats. One has to reduce their starch intake as they are also high in sugar. One should eat plenty of fruits & vegetables, nuts and seeds. Plant based nutrition dense diet are rich in super foods like broccoli, daikon, onions, garlic, spinach, carrots, oranges, beans, legumes and lentils. One should increase their protein intake as proteins help in reducing the fats in the liver. Exercise along with this dietary patterns will restore your liver’s health in just few weeks or even few days.
Take home message