If you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), your doctor may put you on a special diet designed to help you limit your intake of fats, particularly saturated fats and trans fats.
There are five common forms of fat found in most of the food we consume:
- Saturated fats, which are found in meat, poultry, butter, lard, shortening, all regular and low-fat dairy products.
- Trans fats, which are found in foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Many common snack foods contain trans fats, such as crackers, packaged cookies and cakes, and fried foods such as doughnuts and french fries.
- Monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive, peanut, and canola oils.
- Polyunsaturated fats, found in corn, soybean, and safflower oils, and nuts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are also a type of polyunsaturated fat. Salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed oil contain omega-3s.
You doctor may suggest replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are some other dietary changes to help treat NAFLD and NASH:
1. Eat Low-glycemic Index Foods
There are many low-glycemic index foods that include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some low-glycemic-index vegetables are artichokes, asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, mustard, turnip, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, squash, tomato, zucchini and cabbage, and bok choy, just to name a few.
2. Avoid High-Glycemic-Index Foods
There are equally a lot of high glycemic index foods to avoid. Some of the common ones include white bread, white rice, and potatoes. Other high glycemic index foods include sugar, flour, cookies, crackers and some fruits including bananas, grapes, and raisins. Many breakfast cereal such as puffed rice and corn flakes are also on the list.
3. Foods that Contain Sugar and Fructose
Avoid foods and drinks that contain large amounts of simple sugars, and fructose. Fructose is found in sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, and juices.
4. Avoid Heavy Alcohol Use
Heavy alcohol use can damage your liver. For men, experts define heavy alcohol use as more than 4 drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, heavy alcohol use is more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
Cleveland Clinic. Fatty Liver Disease. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15831-fatty-liver-disease
American Liver Foundation. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease & NASH. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/all-content