Diet for fatty liver: Top 5 foods that support liver health

Diet for fatty liver

Diet for fatty liver: Top 5 foods that support liver health

 Diet has an important role to play in liver health. Although some dietary habits may help keep a liver healthy, others may be harmful. After counselling you on some liver foods, My Liver Exam today discusses those that are best avoided.

Diet for fatty liver
Diet for fatty liver: Top 5 foods that support liver health

Avoid drastic regimes

The majority of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are overweight or obese. Obesity involves an enlarged liver, following the accumulation of fat. It should be noted that progressive weight loss can reverse the condition. Indeed, several studies have shown that a reduction in the daily caloric intake of 500 kcal results in a significant decrease in fat in the liver.1

The recommended weight loss for overweight or obese people should not exceed 1 kg (2.2 lb) per week. Very low-calorie diets should absolutely be avoided because they can aggravate the disease and increase inflammation in the liver.2

The focus on alcohol

The liver is the organ that metabolizes alcohol. However, only a certain amount can be metabolized over a period of time. When the amount of alcohol in the blood is too great, this liver function can be interrupted, resulting in a chemical imbalance.

If the liver is forced to neutralize alcohol continuously, liver cells can be destroyed or altered resulting in fatty deposits (fatty liver), and more serious problems, such as inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) and / or training. permanent scar tissue in the liver (cirrhosis) .3

Alcohol consumption can lead to the development of severe liver disease. Women are more likely to develop alcoholic disease. The consumption of 20 to 40g of alcohol per day for 10 years is the threshold value in the development of the first stage of liver disease.4 For men, the threshold represents 40 to 80 g per day for 10 years.

It should be noted that the amount of alcohol consumed corresponds to about 12g. Consumption is equivalent to:

    1beer of 341 ml at 5% alcohol

    A glass of wine from 5 oz to 12% alcohol

    A glass of spirits from 1.5 oz to 40% alcohol

In short, for a woman, the threshold is 1.5 to 3.5 drinks a day for 10 years and for a man, 3.5 to 6.5 drinks a day for 10 years. Consumption of 6.5 to 13.5 drinks a day for 10 to 20 years can lead to hepatitis or cirrhosis.


Concentrated sources of fructose, especially high-fructose corn syrup and concentrated sources of glucose, stimulate hepatic lipogenesis.5-7

Diet for fatty liver
Diet for fatty liver

The main sources are:

    Fizzy drinks

    Sweet fruit drinks

    Some flavored yogurts

    Sweet breakfast cereals

    Canned fruits

    Baked goods (pastries, pastries, cakes, pies)

    Prepared or frozen meals

    Condiments: sweet sauces, ketchup, jams, fruit jellies.

It is recommended that you read the ingredient list carefully to check for the presence of glucose-fructose or high-fructose corn syrup and to avoid products containing it.

A recent study in 2018 found that there was a variable individual response from one individual to another with respect to fructose consumption. This response could thus determine whether hepatic steatosis can develop or not following excessive consumption of fructose.8

Another study showed that all the sources of fructose were not equal compared to the liver, hence the importance of not excluding the fruit group, for example.9 In this study, a high consumption of animal proteins was more closely linked. to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than fructose.

Saturated and Trans fat

With respect to saturated and trans fats, although no human studies have directly linked the consumption of saturated fat to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, some animal studies have shown a relationship between this type of fat and the deterioration of liver health.10

The main sources of saturated fat are cold meats, red meats, butter, high-fat dairy products such as cheese, cream, ice cream. For Trans fats, they are found mainly in pastry and bakery products and commercial fried foods made with vegetable fat, such as French fries and donuts. They are also in hard/solid margarine. The words “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredient list of a product means that it contains Trans fat.

It is therefore recommended to focus on fish and seafood, poultry/eggs as main sources of protein or to learn about vegetable proteins such as soy products (tofu/tempeh/ edamames) or legumes (dried peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.) as well as nuts and seeds. Vegetable oils such as olive or canola oil should be preferred to butter for cooking as well. Avoid what is processed with a long list of ingredients and cook more at home.


Some studies suggest that high consumption of pesticides from food could also affect liver health.11 The fewer pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics or hormones, the less the liver must work to filter these substances.

For the year 2018, the foods that contain the most pesticide residues are, in descending order: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and peppers.12 When possible, choose these foods in an organic version. It is also recommended to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.


Finally, too high sodium intake may also have negative impacts on the liver. Although this is preliminary animal studies, the results showed that too much sodium resulted in a number of changes in the liver including deformed cells, a higher rate of cell death and a lower rate of cell division. 13

Since high sodium intake can have many health implications, it is recommended that you reduce your sodium intake.

Diet for fatty liver
Diet for the fatty liver

Tips and tricks:

    Buy unsalted or low sodium foods. Look for the words “no sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no added salt” on the package.

    Compare the labels and choose the products that contain the least sodium aim for less than 360 mg per serving.

    Buy fresh or frozen vegetables without added salt.

    Prefer vegetable juices and low sodium tomatoes.

    Prefer unseasoned meats, poultry, fish, seafood and tofu.

    Opt for unsalted nuts.

    Get low sodium canned beans.

    Avoid the salt shaker at the table. Restrict salt and salty spices when cooked e.g. onion salt, sea salt, vegetable salt, steak spices, soy sauce or tamari, monosodium glutamate.

    Avoid frozen meals and fast food meals.

Suggested condiments to add taste without the addition of sodium include: dry mustard, pepper, onion or garlic powder, fresh ginger, balsamic vinegar, herbs (basil, oregano, etc.), salt-free spices, juice lemon.

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