Did you know that your liver is responsible for removing toxins from your body? It is also the organ that helps break down fat into fatty acids, which helps improve digestion. So far, you must have figured out that there is a strong link between liver health with your digestive system. Since the liver helps improve digestion, eating the wrong foods can affect your liver and not in a good way! The most common that affects people is fatty liver disease.
To understand the link between fatty liver and your eating habits, Health Shots got in touch with Dr Mrunmaya Panda, Gastroenterologist, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune.
What is the link between eating habits and fatty liver?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD is one of the most common causes of liver diseases around the world. Dr Panda explains it is a “disease of the liver in which there is a build-up of fat in the liver. If left undiagnosed or untreated, it can some serious complications.”
Further explaining the causes of fatty liver disease, he explained that obesity and diabetes are some of the common factors that lead to the problem. However, unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, and living a sedentary lifestyle also increase the risk of fatty liver disease.
As per the study published in the Iranian Journal of Public Health, diet plays a pivotal role when it comes to your liver health. The study found a positive association between unhealthy eating habits and a higher risk of NAFLD.
Eating habits you need to stop for the sake of your liver health
While not every food is harmful to your health, there are some foods that can take a toll on your liver. Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of foods you need to stop eating if you are at a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease.
Avoid unhealthy fats and carbohydrates
Dr Panda explains that most of the foods people prefer to eat today are high in saturated fats and carbohydrates, which is not good for your health. He touts this as one of the major reasons why the younger population between the ages of 12 and 18 are suffering from fatty liver more than the elderly. “Cold Coffee these days have high concentration of sugar, leading to rapid deposition of fat,” he points out.
Not including protein in your diet
While avoiding foods that are harmful to your liver health is necessary, it is also vital to add foods that promote liver health. Dr Panda avers that people who consume a diet low in protein are at a lower risk of developing fatty liver disease as compared to those who ate carbohydrates and fat.
A study published in the journal Liver International found that eating a high protein and calorie-reduced diet can be harmful to your liver. It is best to increase your intake of protein in your diet to avoid complications like fatty liver disease.
Eating fried and packaged food
Don’t you love binge-eating all-street-style fried food? We didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but these foods aren’t the best for your liver. Dr Panda says, “Our sedentary lifestyle also leads to us eating ready-to-eat, pre-packaged, fried food, but all of this leads to fatty liver.” In fact, you should steer clear of fatty food as they are high in fat, salt and calories, all of which are bad for your liver health.
Drinking alcohol every day
It goes without saying that alcohol in excess can lead to several problems, including fatty liver disease. Dr Panda advises people to limit their alcohol intake to avoid fatty liver disease. Studies have shown that excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to a build-up of fats in your liver, which is called alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Other than these, alcohol abuse, rapid weight loss, and malnutrition also leads to fatty liver, adds Dr Panda.
Note: While these eating habits can elevate your risk of developing fatty liver disease, it is best to check with your doctor to know what works for you and what doesn’t.