Food has a preponderant role in the treatment and prevention of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, being the current recommendations the decrease of the body weight and the modification of the diet. Among the changes it can be mentioned a lower calorie intake (hypocaloric diet), increased fiber consumption, reduced consumption of simple carbohydrates, lower consumption of saturated fats, higher consumption of omega 3 fats and completely eliminate the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
How Can I Prevent The occurrence of Fatty Liver?
The hypocaloric diets that provide between 1200 and 1500 calories, are aimed at achieving a gradual and safe decrease in body weight in those patients who are overweight or obese, since it has been shown that very low calorie diets <800 calories can result in very rapid weight loss that would lead to a complication of this disease due to the higher production of harmful substances (ketone bodies) and the increase in cardiovascular risk.
Include dietary fiber, which you can find in whole grains (brown rice, wholegrain pasta, oatmeal, wholemeal bread), fruits and vegetables within the usual diet is recommended because of its ability to lower cholesterol and cause a delay in the increase in glycemia (sugar in the blood) that results in a lower release of insulin by the pancreas, thus helping to control the insulin resistance that usually occurs in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver. Along with the above, it is worth mentioning the greater power of satiety that these foods present, which would help in the treatment of overweight and obesity.
By contrast, simple carbohydrates, which are found in sugar, fructose, honey, jam, confectionery, ice cream, soft drinks and in general all those products that contain sugar among its ingredients, produce a rapid increase in glycemia. It results in a greater release of insulin by the pancreas that will favor the deposit of greater amounts of fat in the liver, which will aggravate this disease.
Saturated fats are found mainly in products of animal origin, such as butter, whole milk products, mature cheeses, sausages, cold meats and cuts of fatty meats (loin veined, pork ribs, lamb). It is clearly established that diets with a high intake of saturated fats increase the fat deposit in the liver, along with an increase in cardiovascular risk factors, such as decreased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and increase of total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) Due to this, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of saturated fats less than 10% of the total calories consumed in the day.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that we find mainly in marine foods, such as fish and shellfish, but also we find in some foods of vegetable origin like canola oil and nuts like almonds.
The positive effect of these fats on dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, has been widely demonstrated, so this component of the diet should be present in the feeding of the patient with non-alcoholic fatty liver by average consumption of fish or shellfish 2 to 3 times a week and the daily use of canola oil or the consumption of 3 to 4 nuts.
The Beneficial Effects Include:
- Decrease in triglycerides, free fatty acids, glycemia and insulin in the blood.
- Prevention of insulin resistance.
- Decrease in the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Another type of healthy fat that can make a difference in the dietary treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver, are the monounsaturated fats that we can find in foods such as olive oil, canola oil, olives and avocado. This benefit has been clearly demonstrated when the consumption of these fats partially replaces the intake of saturated fats.