Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or its more serious form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are common conditions caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver. Most people have no symptoms, and it doesn’t cause serious problems for them. In some cases, though, it can lead to serious liver damage. The good news is you can often prevent, or even reverse, fatty liver disease with lifestyle changes—namely diet improvements.
A poorly balanced diet can cause fat to accumulate in your liver. Over time, this fat accumulation can cause inflammation, which leads to fibrosis and, if not stopped, progresses to cirrhosis. The best course of action to ensure none of this happens is to avoid anything that can stress the liver and load up on anything that will protect it.
- If you have NASH or NAFLD, your doctor may recommend the following diet changes, especially if you are overweight or have obesity.
- Reduce your calorie intake by controlling your portions and tracking what you eat.
- Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, which are commonly found in fried foods, baked goods, red meat, and dairy. Replace these with omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, whole grains, avocados, and olive oil) which can also reduce your chance of heart disease.
- Eat more low-glycemic foods, such as most fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains. These foods affect your blood sugar levels less than high-glycemic foods, such as white bread, white rice, and white potatoes.
- Avoid foods and drinks that contain large amounts of simple sugars, especially fructose. Fructose is found in sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, and juices. Table sugar, called sucrose, rapidly changes to glucose and fructose during digestion.
- Reduce or completely stop alcohol use, which can further damage your liver.
Currently, there are no FDA approved medications or treatments for NAFLD or NASH. However, several are being studied with promising results; researchers and medical professionals expect several options to be available within the next few years. We strongly encourage you to consider being part of progress that helps bring these treatments to market! To find out if you qualify for a currently enrolling NASH clinical study, call IACT Health at (866) 764-JOIN or find out more below. Compensation may be available for those who qualify.
Learn more about our current NASH clinical trials HERE.