By following a proper fatty liver diet and an exercise program to achieve gradual weight loss over time, it’s possible to reduce steatosis (the accumulation of fats in the liver). Many people around the world suffer from a fatty liver, and when fat makes up greater than 10% of the liver by weight, then the condition is classified as fatty liver disease (FLD).
Two types of FLD are generally recognized. First, acoholic fatty liver disease results from excessive alcohol intake. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, on the other hand, can be caused by a wide variety of factors including fat rich diets, insulin resistance, metabolic syndromes, obesity, and many other conditions.
In many cases, excess fat in the liver is benign and an asymptomatic disease. A definitive diagnosis requires a liver biopsy, and many patients don’t know they have the condition until it worsens.
Fatty liver treatment often involves changes in diet, reductions in alcohol consumption, exercise routines for weight loss, and methods to keep blood sugar under control. When treated early, the condition is often reversible, but if left untreated the condition can progress to cirrhosis or even liver disease and complete liver failure.
This disease affects around 20% of the population worldwide, but occurs in as many as 75% of people who struggle with obesity. It is also commonly linked to people with combined hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus (type II), and/or high blood pressure.
One mistake many patients make when following a fatty liver diet plan is attempting to lose weight too quickly. A 10% weight reduction has been shown to help reduce liver size, but the weight should be lost gradually over time instead of all at once.
When rapid fat loss occurs through intense workouts or starvation diets, fatty acid production increases in the liver to make up for the lost fat which causes FLD to worsen. Under these conditions, fats are converted into energy quickly, but incompletely. This incomplete conversion allows more fat to find its way into the liver.
A proper fatty liver diet should be well balanced. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates all need to be accounted for. A general recommendation is to maintain a diet consisting of 20-30% fats, 60-70% complex carbohydrates, and 20-30% protein. These numbers are not set in stone and can be adjusted, but fatty foods should make up no more than 30% of the overall caloric intake.