Do you know what the simplest diet advice that can actually work is?
Don't eat anything white
Can't be you say? Think of it this way.
Don't eat sugar, salt, refined grains, rice, or potatoes for starters
If you do this, you will likely find that the choices you make will automatically be healthier than your current diet and for most people it will lead to weight loss and better health.
There are a lot more detailed discussions on the site which you can explore.
If you think about the co-morbidity illustrated in this image, it is clear that there are at least 40 million Americans who are at some level of risk for developing advanced disease. The question, "WHAT TO DO" hangs there in the face of vast suffering to come.
Studies are coming in as research focuses on liver disease and the challenges that we face. A whole body view instead of organ by organ is becoming more common which recognizes that the liver is so foundational to health that a very wide range of diseases are co-morbid with liver disease. That is a fancy word that means the problems are related.
Clinical trials are important. We support them because they are the only way to get treatments that work. I recently took 5 members of my family to Dr. Rohit Loomba's, a world renown liver specialist, lab at the University of California San Diego where we participated in a study seeking a genetic basis for familial liver disease. The goal is the find out what role DNA plays in the development of liver disease. If you are interested in learning more, click on the link below. If your family seems to have liver disease you might check it out.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse. The vision of death and destruction for humanity from the new testament is a chorus of the woes that can befall society. It evokes hazard from all directions bringing misery and the pale horse called death.
When you come to grips with the health aspects of liver disease it is a surprise to learn that our understanding of our bodies as an integrated system is so poorly appreciated. The mix of chemical processes that are done routinely by the liver cannot be duplicated by our chemists. It is estimated that over 500 functions are performed by the cells of the liver and they affect every other kind of tissue in the body. Imagine that, all of that activity in a cell about one fifth the width of a human hair.Read more
Exercise as a patient is a popular subject which reminded me of a recent experience. If you have ever been a runner you likely know of what is called the "runners high". It is a feeling of euphoria brought on by the release of endorphins. Running is mostly hard work but occasionally it is magic.
There is a greenbelt along the river where I live that bikers and pedestrians enjoy. It is really quite a nice amenity. It is local custom for bikers to signal with a bell perhaps or more commonly to announce "on your left" when passing to avoid startling walkers.
I was jogging along recently and it was a perfect day. A gorgeous morning and I felt good. As I went along everything came together. I was the winged god Mercury floating effortlessly through space with the wind and gravity paying me hardly any mind as I flew past. A glorious experience that I would gladly become addicted to. I could have run all day with no effort at all.
This is an overview of our site. Liver disease is complex and we invite you to study it but if all you want is a quick summary the site probably isn't for you
I was shocked to learn I am a cirrhosis patient and because of that I became a patient advocate. I decided the best way to have a voice was to create a non-profit foundation. If you are here, you or someone you care about, is obese, is ill, has or is at risk for liver disease or a co-morbidity associated with it. Obesity is a major cause of the problems. You won’t care about this topic except as a health or diet issue.
This is what you will find here:
- Non-technical explanation of how your body actually works
- How the liver develops disease over time
- Why fats are a critical source of fuel for your cells
- How the liver manages triglycerides
- How the course of fatty liver disease depends on triglycerides and carbohydrates
- How the kind of dietary fat you use matters
- Information by a liver patient for liver patients
- Information about diet based upon bio-chemistry not fads
This site is not trying to sell you anything.
We are a nonprofit foundation and we do not represent anyone but the patient. If you are looking for advice on supplements or quick fixes this is not the place for you. We offer extensive information about the body in general, the liver specifically, and we recommend lifestyle strategies that have worked for me specifically and which I believe are valuable for anyone concerned about liver health to be familiar with. The strategies are also the best we know of for weight control and management. If you struggle with weight you need to understand how the body works rather than just buy expensive stuff from the guru of the month. Our goal is to help you understand the problem so that you can deal with it effectively.
This site offers you extensive opportunity to add your own comments and experiences to the pages. We invite you to add your own thoughts if you would like to. Patient and caregivers stories are especially helpful to other sufferers.
Saturated Fat Is More Metabolically Harmful for the Human Liver Than Unsaturated Fat or Simple Sugars.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (i.e., increased intrahepatic triglyceride [IHTG] content), predisposes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adipose tissue lipolysis and hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) are the main pathways contributing to IHTG. We hypothesized that dietary macronutrient composition influences the pathways, mediators, and magnitude of weight gain-induced changes in IHTG.
Overfeeding saturated fats increased liver triglycerides more (+55%) than unsaturated fats (+15%, P < 0.05). Carbohydrate feeding increased liver triglycerides (+33%) by stimulating DNL (+98%). Saturated fat significantly increased while unsaturated fat decreased lipolysis. Saturated fat induced insulin resistance and endotoxemia and significantly increased multiple plasma ceramides. The diets had distinct effects on adipose tissue gene expression.
Macronutrient composition of excess energy influences pathways of liver triglycerides: Carbohydrates increases DNL, while saturated fat increases and unsaturated fat decreases lipolysis. Saturated fat induced the greatest increase in triglycerides, insulin resistance, and harmful ceramides. Decreased intakes of saturated fat could be beneficial in reducing liver triglycerides and the associated risk of diabetes.
We start with the fact that the fundamental problem is the bio-chemical flow between the liver and fat cells. When diet is poorly balanced, over time fat accumulates in the liver and by itself is rather benign but when other chemistries like insulin management begin to degrade you get inflammation which leads to fibrosis and if not stopped progresses to cirrhosis. Since there is no treatment your tool is diet and the question is to avoid anything that stresses the liver and load up on anything that is protective. Easy peasy right. Well let's take a look
- eliminate all alcohol
- eliminate saturated fat and no red meat
- eliminate all non skim dairy products
- eliminate trans-fat and all hydrogenated oils
- eliminate all high fructose corn syrup
- eliminate most sodium -- the goal 1,500 mg per day
- eliminate all added dietary sugar
- eliminate processed grains, no white flour or white rice
- Avoid most products hustled by the supplement industry
- Make sure that any medications you take are not harming your liver
The goal of this website is to share my experiences and information as I seek to use nutrition and a health supportive lifestyle to manage my liver disease. I have to tell you the legal things because our society is riddled with lawyers. Please go to the link above to see the full statement. By using this site, you signify your assent to these Terms and Conditions. If you do not agree to all of the Terms and Conditions of use, do not use this site.
OK, I get it, but what kind of diet can meet all those goals?
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO KILL YOUR LIVER?
Your liver is like a very complex factory
There are many diets being advocated but most of them do not talk to you about specific liver health issues like how their program impacts your liver. The assumption is that weight loss alone is good for you. While generally true, if we consider the liver the kind of calories you consume is important. You can feed it almost anything and it will try to make something out of it. It is filled with about 500 robots that each know how to do one thing. As long as a robot knows what to do with what you send it and the supply isn't overwhelming all is well. However, if you supply more than it can process bad things happen. With too much raw material things in the factory can pile up. When a robot is broken or over supplied, the wrong product might be made or the robot might fail. Break too many of your liver robots and the entire factory fails. These are the reasons why what you eat really does matter to your long term health.
When you hear the term fatty liver you instinctively assume that eating fat is what caused it and the siren song of low fat diets that get so much attention have appeal. The problem is that the important thing is not what you eat but what does your liver do with what you eat. As you think about the rest of this material remember this one fact as you learn about fatty liver disease and lifestyle. The first step in carbohydrate metabolism is to turn the carbs to fat in the form of palmitic acid. Excess carbohydrates in the body are converted to palmitic acid which is the first fatty acid produced during fatty acid synthesis and is the precursor to longer chain fatty acids. The critical idea here is the presence of excess carbohydrates.
Sugar is also half fructose. Unlike glucose, which is a direct fuel for all organs, fructose can only be processed by the liver and it is turned into fat inside the liver cells. That process is unlimited so unlike glucose it just keeps building fatty acids in the liver and if you exceed what the liver can manage bad things happen. You can learn about that here.
When you eat too much sugar some of it is converted to fat in your liver cells and if the amount exceeds what the liver can dispose of you get accumulation. There are many other chemical pathways in the liver but you can probably see how this might apply to you.
Much of this advice will be familiar to you, however, there is one critical food item which under official US food advice is different. That is the extensive use of extra virgin olive oil. It is important to be aware that the Official American Dietary Guidelines advise calorie reduction and exercise with limited dietary fat. It limits saturated fats but ignores the differences between various oils. If you want to study the official recommendation you can do it here. You might wonder whether the official federal policy has anything to do with the vast amount of disease afflicting our society.
The nutritional approach to fatty liver disease has a broad base of support among providers, including MDs. The optimal approach is still a matter of investigation and debate. However, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied diets in science and medicine. As the most common cause of mortality among patients with NAFLD is cardiovascular events, the impact on mortality alone make it worthwhile to adopt. The anti inflammatory and anti-fibrotic literature for the diet are also compelling and since we are focused on liver disease that is the focus of this information.
Much of our advice is built around extra virgin olive oil. If you would like
more information see this link on olive oil
but if your interest is about
fatty liver disease and its complication click here.
If you have a liver problem, you should be aware that liver disease is ignored by almost all diet plans. The reason is that it is mostly symptom free and there are no treatments so most of the research has been on heart and diabetes issues. If you are concerned about your liver you are part of an ignored patient group. If you would like to test that theory,
Just be aware that they ignore the questions that brought you here. Diet plans mostly ignore the liver even though its health is the foundation upon which most of the bio-chemistry that is you depends. So look around but come back here when you find out that the diet plan advocates ignore you.
A COMMENT ABOUT POPULAR LOW CARB DIETS
Please note that extreme low carb plans are probably bad for you. Your body must have fuel and when we eliminate sugar that comes significantly in the form of fats and carbs. The kind of carbs is what you need to pay attention to. Ideally you want to eat a good supply of resistant starch, that is starch that is digested in the colon and not the small intestine. This is very important for the health of the colon as much of its energy is in the form of short chain molecules called butyrate which are produced by the healthy bacteria. Take those away and the cells lining the colon suffer.
Resistant starch is considered both a dietary fiber and a functional fiber, depending on whether it is naturally in foods or added. Although the U.S. Institute of Medicine has defined total fiber as equal to functional fiber plus dietary fiber, U.S. food labeling does not distinguish between them.
|Examples of naturally occurring resistant starch|
|Food||Serving size||Resistant starch
|Banana flour, from green bananas||1/4 cup, uncooked||10.5-13.2|
|Banana, raw, slightly green||1 medium, peeled||4.7|
|High amylose RS2 corn resistant starch||1 tablespoon (9.5 g)||4.5|
|Oats, rolled||1/4 cup, uncooked||4.4|
|Green peas, frozen||1 cup, cooked||4.0|
|White beans||1/2 cup, cooked||3.7|
|Lentils||1/2 cup cooked||2.5|
|Cold pasta||1 cup||1.9|
|Pearl barley||1/2 cup cooked||1.6|
|Cold potato||1/2" diameter||0.6 - 0.8|
|Oatmeal||1 cup cooked||0.5|
IMPORTANT LITTLE KNOWN OR UNDERSTOOD FACTS ABOUT STARCH
Processing may affect the natural resistant starch content of foods. In general, processes that break down structural barriers to digestion reduce resistant starch content, with greater reductions resulting from processing. Whole grain wheat may contain as high as 14% resistant starch, while milled wheat flour may contain only 2%.
Other types of processing increase resistant starch content. If cooking includes excess water, the starch is gelatinized and becomes more digestible. However, if these starch gels are then cooled, they can form starch crystals resistant to digestive enzymes such as those occurring in cooked and cooled cereals or potatoes (e.g., potato salad). Cooling a boiled potato overnight increases the amount of resistant starch for example.
Resistant starch does not release glucose within the small intestine, but rather reaches the large intestine where it is consumed or fermented by colonic bacteria (gut microbiota). On a daily basis, human intestinal microbiota encounter more carbohydrates than any other dietary component. This includes resistant starch, non-starch polysaccharide fibers, oligosaccharides, and simple sugars which have significance to colon health.
The fermentation of resistant starch produces short-chain fatty acids, including acetate, propionate, and butyrate and increased bacterial cell mass. The short-chain fatty acids are produced in the large intestine where they are rapidly absorbed from the colon, then are metabolized in colonic epithelial cells, liver or other tissues. The fermentation of resistant starch produces more butyrate than other types of dietary fibers.
Modest amounts of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen are also produced in intestinal fermentation. One review estimated that the acceptable daily intake of resistant starch may be as high as 45 grams in adults, an amount exceeding the total recommended intake for dietary fiber of 25–38 grams per day. When isolated resistant starch is used to substitute for flour in foods, the glycemic response of that food is reduced.
This is a very thoughtful article about the generally poor advice patients get from their doctors. Obesity is the stalking horse of death for many Americans and despite much marketing hype we are failing as a society. The next generation is likely to be the first whose life expectancy will be less than their parents. Liver disease and the co-morbidity it contributes to are multi-decade killers. This article is from StatNews by AGUSTINA SAENZ and is a good discussion of the problem.
Clinicians, often get nutrition information that’s influenced by industries selling American-style fare, like red meat, sugar, ice cream, and soda. The “moderation” clause soon creeps in. Easy-to-grab, fast food options are even sold in hospitals, the sacred places where the sickest people go for treatment and recovery.Read more