Is Your Liver Fat? Why You Should Care
When we look in the mirror, we can see the results of weight gain. However, we cannot see what excess weight may be doing to our bodies on the inside. There’s growing awareness that as we gain weight, so do our livers – that vital organ responsible for keeping our bodies healthy by detoxifying our system.
Many of us associate liver disease with excessive alcohol consumption. It is true that too much alcohol in the system causes the liver to form deposits of fat. Eventually, these fatty deposits can cause inflammation that can lead to liver damage. But alcohol isn’t the only culprit.
A new threat to healthy livers is just as dangerous as drinking too much. The condition is called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD. This condition is associated with obesity and consumption of too much sugar and starchy, processed carbohydrates. It is also linked to a sedentary lifestyle and insulin resistance. Furthermore, because NALFD does not usually set off an alarm the way that cardiovascular disease does, many people could have this disease and not even know it.
Ours livers are hardy and strong, in fact, you could struggle with NAFLD for five to ten years before you begin to notice signs your liver is in trouble. Early on, a fatty liver is not that dangerous, but left unchecked it can develop into a more serious stage know an nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. In this stage, buildup of fat causes inflammation and scarring. Over time, this scarring can progress to cirrhosis and could cause permanent damage to your liver. But there are solutions…
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) losing at least 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can reduce fat in your liver. Additionally, reducing excess weight with healthy food choices, limiting portion sizes, and being more physically active can help to improve NAFLD and NASH.
Here are some small but significant changes you can make to help get your liver back on track:
- Ditch the sugar and starch. Eliminate or reduce simple sugars and processed, starchy carbs from your diet.
- Lose the booze. Give your liver a helping hand and drink less alcohol. Water helps your liver do its job and eliminate dangerous toxins from the body.
- Get off the couch. Moderate physical activity can have a positive effect on reducing liver fat and improving overall wellness.