If you want to really understand Fatty Liver Disease, spend some time watching the videos below. They present a great deal of information, but if knowledge is your goal, this is a great place to start.
Part of dealing with liver disease is to understand it. In order to help you, we are working with Armando Hasudungan who produces superb short videos to explain complex medical subjects. We use them throughout the site to help you understand your body and specifically your liver. The first video gives you a view of the liver overall and the following ones focus on details.
So how does what I eat cause me problems?
OK, but how does Cirrhosis happen?
So what is cirrhosis that is the one that scares me.
I suppose the next question is what are the signs and symptoms and management of liver disease.
Darn, so how bad can it be really?
Causes part 1
Causes part 2
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 most 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 of salt or less.
- 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
Oh my god. That is a terrible list. Not possible to live that way. OK, take a breath. The goal is to take as much pressure off the liver as possible, provide molecules from your diet that are protective and don't stimulate the stellate cells to initiate scaring, but still provide proper nutrition. So what do you do?
- For oil get 60 ml, that's 1/4 cup, a day of extra virgin olive oil
- Take one tablespoon per day of refined fish or salmon oil
- Don't buy prepared foods without reading the label, there isn't actually much that you can buy
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables but remember the salt limit
- Learn to like kale, lima beans, brussel sprouts, etc.
- Look for fiber like whole wheat bread no white breads and use brown rice
- Eat fatty fish like salmon at least a few times a week
- Eat skinless chicken or turkey and lean pork, fresh pork not processed like ham
- Explore new foods like quinoa as a grain
- Eat plenty of vegetable protein like beans.
- Take 400 mg to 800 mg of vitamin E
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of paper filtered coffee daily
- Be aware that eating out is tough as very little of it is good for you
You get the idea. you might call this a type of Mediterranean diet but the excess olive oil is specifically a medicine. The rest is mostly nutrition. The fish oil is to get a significant source of omega 3 oil to balance the omega 6 you routinely get in food. The salt limitation is good for you and lowers your blood pressure.
So why should you think this might work for you? Without getting too technical your energy systems are built around triglycerides. Any oil can be used by the body to make them but if made with unsaturated oil they are better for the body. More importantly olive oil is mostly an omega 9 fatty acid. Good olive oil is a complex mixture of around 30 oils and phyto chemicals which support liver function and soothe activated stellate cells which cools inflammation. Good olive oil causes a burning feeling at the back of your throat. Those are the phyto chemicals and more is better if you ever go to an oil tasting bar. The omega 3 reduces the amount of inflammation caused by omega 6 and is required for good health even if you don't have liver disease.
DISCLAIMER: Be aware that I am not a doctor. I cannot give medical advice. I am a cirrhosis patient and I have apparently halted the progression of my disease following this strategy. You must not assume that this advice will necessarily apply to your situation and you must work closely with your physicians as your situation is unique to you.
Please note that everyone has different a different culture and diet preferences. We cannot provide a diet plan that suits everyone so we offer you the general guidelines but each person has to look at their personal food choices and modify them to be as kind as they can to their liver. There is no one size fits all plan.
As Shakespeare said “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
OK, you feel that you are healthy but want to stay that way. This site just deals with the fat aspects of health so keep that in mind. We'll assume you are here because you have some concern over your liver's health, you fail at diets, or you just want to take a healthy approach to food. All of those concerns turn on the fact that our modern industrial diet is unhealthy. Things you probably already know.
- We routinely consume too many calories
- We eat far too much sugar
- High fructose corn syrup is unhealthy
- Trans-fats are bad for you
- Saturated fats are not healthy
- We eat far too much salt
- We consume a lot of additives that may be harmful
- Our diet has far too little fiber
There are other issues but if you managed these it would address most diet problems. When you think about the problem it is clear that there are two fundamental issues. First, of course, are the personal choices we make and the psychological aspects of diets and food. The second is the actual contents of the foods we eat and how they have changed over time.
Well, isn't that lovely. I get that same pitch every day. I've tried all kinds of diets and nothing works for me. What a waste of my time this site is.
Yes, we get that all the time don't we? I personally get really tired of all the diet and lifestyle products being pitched. So here is the real story. For most of us we diet repeatedly. We don't really change our lifestyle or the way we think about food. If you want to be healthy you do have to be aware that there are consequences for your health if you pay no attention to the quality of your diet long term. If you live a lifestyle you don't have to diet, your body will respond in a good way.
Does being fat matter?
Do you care about dying?
How about being ill for years?
- Obesity accounts for 18 percent of deaths among Americans between the ages of 40 and 85
- The incidence of fatty liver disease has increased 20 times since 1983.
- A 5-year-old growing up today is much more likely to be obese than a generation or two ago.
- Once someone is obese, it is very difficult to undo. We won't see the worst of the epidemic until the current generation of children grows old.
- One in five US deaths is associated with obesity. What are your odds?
- Fatty liver disease is epidemic affecting about 100 million Americans.
- The good news, it is possible to take it off and keep it off but you must be serious.
Did you know that the risk of death when you get to stage 4 fibrosis is 25 times higher than it is at stage 1?
Is there a short explanation about how what I eat can cause me problems?
For a start, watch this short video.
Fatty Liver and cirrhosis are epidemic, our goal is to help you understand your risk and learn to be kind to yourself
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On the morning of December 23, 2010, after having my gall bladder removed, I was shown a picture of my liver and told I had a stage 4 liver cirrhosis. It was a powerful and frightening moment – one that is seared into my memory. And one that began more than a half-decade of tests, misdiagnoses, and, eventually, lifestyle changes.