What did the doctor say:
My client went to the doctor with her brand new bloodwork that showed signs of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Her regular MD told her to just lose weight and that it was not a big deal…Not happy with the advice she went to see a specialist, a gastroenterologist. His advice was the following:
“Everybody has fatty liver disease, you will just have to live with it, and take medications when it gets too serious.”
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a term used to describe a condition where fats accumulates in the liver or certain individuals, independently of alcohol consumption.
Let’s learn more about Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Before we can understand how truly dumb that advice was, we need to look a bit deeper in to what this condition means and if there is really something we can do about it.
This condition is marked by high inflammation and has very similar results to heavy alcohol use. When severe it can lead to liver failure.
NAFLD is increasingly common around the world, especially in Western nations. In the US, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million people.
NAFLD its most common in people in their 40s and 50s who are at high risk of heart disease because of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- This condition is also closely linked to
- poor ability to use the hormone insulin,
- high blood pressure and
- high blood levels of triglycerides
NAFLD does not cause symptoms in most individuals. When it does, they may include:
- Enlarged liver
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
Interestingly researchers in conventional medical fields don’t know exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not.
This is very different when it comes to holistic practices like nutrition. As (believe it or not) the medical establishment sees no correlation between diet and health conditions. 🙁
NAFLD is linked to the following:
- Overweight or obesity
- Insulin resistance, in which your cells don’t take up sugar in response to the hormone insulin
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia), indicating prediabetes or actual type 2 diabetes
- High levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood
Doctors just observe that “These combined health problems appear to promote the deposit of fat in the liver.”
From a nutritionist standpoint the correlation between high carbohydrate consumption, the over conversion of sugars into triglycerides and the accumulation of fat in the liver is immediately clear.
This is how the process works:
When the diet is high is sugars and refined carbohydrates, to the point where they exceed out caloric needs, the body is forced to convert them into a storage form of energy. As sugar can not be stored in the body in large quantities it gets converted into triglycerides.
All of the conditions linked to NAFLD are driven by a high sugar and high carbohydrate diet.
The risk factors you will find below are also directly or indirectly related to diet and lifestyle and can be mostly resolved through changes in diet and lifestyle.
A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including:
- High cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Metabolic syndrome
- Obesity, particularly when fat is concentrated in the abdomen
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is more likely in these groups:
- Older people
- People with diabetes
- People with body fat concentrated in the abdomen
How do we address NAFLD then?
This is what doctors recommend: (NOT me!) “To reduce your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease:
- Choose a healthy diet. Choose a healthy plant-based diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.
- Exercise. Exercise most days of the week. Get an OK from your doctor first if you haven’t been exercising regularly.”
I find this suggestions absolutely ridiculous as a diet rich in fruits and grains is EXACTLY what caused the condition.
Secondly a low fat calorie restricted diet will further lead down the same path exacerbating the condition and damaging metabolism.
Exercise here is the only sensible advice, but even that needs to be put in the context of each individual clinical case, as it could be detrimental in cases where adrenal exhaustion is present at the same time. Which is a very possible scenario as the adrenals are also involved in blood sugar regulation!
I hope you have found this article interesting. Please feel free to comment and ask questions below and share with a friend who might be interested in hearing this information!