What’s so bad about having a fatty liver? Well, among its numerous repercussions include inflammation, which triggers insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, meaning your body deposits fat in your liver and organs including your belly (called visceral fat).
It gets worse. Excess sugar and starch creates more serious problems including high triglycerides, low HDL (“good” cholesterol) and high amounts of small LDL (dangerous cholesterol particles that cause heart attacks). Fatty liver also increases your heart attack risk.
Sadly, most people have no idea they have a fatty liver. Today we’re even seeing 12-year-old boys with fatty livers because they guzzled soda for years and now need liver transplants. Fructose, the primary sweetener in sodas, is a key player in the ever-increasing rates of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
We’re feeding children fructose and other highly toxic substances, setting the dismal stage for liver transplants, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and abnormal cholesterol. Doctors then prescribe numerous medications to alleviate these and other issues. Overall, it becomes a bleak picture.
I mentioned earlier sugar, not fat, creates fatty liver. Here’s where it gets interesting: Dietary fat actually turns off the fat production factory in your liver. You see, unlike carbohydrates and protein, dietary fat does not trigger your pancreas to secrete insulin or stress out your liver. Your body prefers to burn rather than store dietary fat, unless you combine it with carbs. When you eat the right fats, you increase your metabolism, stimulate fat burning and decrease hunger.
One of my favorite fats is medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, either in coconut oil or as a stand-alone oil.
To prevent or reverse fatty liver, you’ll want to cut processed carbs and increase healthy fat intake, especially saturated—yes, saturated—fats from healthy foods like coconut and grass-fed beef.
I realize all of this might sound confusing. After all, our government tells us to limit saturated fats to 7 to 10 percent of our calories even with the updated dietary guidelines (which science doesn’t support, by the way). We’ve demonized saturated fat for so long that we’ve missed the purple elephant in the room: SUGAR
Thankfully, newer guidelines tell us to limit sugar intake, however, they don’t go far enough. These guidelines should be fine-tuned to include whole grains, which also break down into sugar in your body. According to current guidelines, you’re still supposed to get one-quarter of your calories from sugar to be healthy.
I discuss how fat can benefit your liver and many other dietary fat issues in Eat Fat, Get Thin, but the take-home message here is that healthy saturated fats lower inflammation when you eat them as part of a low-carb, high-fiber, omega 3 fatty acid-rich diet.
So how do you know if you have a fatty liver? If you eat lots of sugar and flour, have a little bit of belly fat or if you crave carbs, you probably have a fatty liver. To heal that fatty liver and avoid its vast detrimental repercussions, you want to get to the root of those problems.
Blood tests and an ultrasound can both detect fatty liver. If your blood test comes back abnormal, you must take it seriously. Even if your test comes back normal, don’t think you’re off the hook. A liver function test doesn’t always detect a fatty liver. An ultrasound is more sensitive.
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