Health

‘I’m a gastroenterologist – follow these steps to reverse fatty liver disease’


Getting 150 minutes of exercise weekly could help revers a fatty liver (Image: Getty Images)

The liver is one of our vital organs that is responsible for more than 500 bodily functions. Therefore, any damage to it can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

In the UK, fatty liver disease is a threat to public health with one in three adults thought to be living with the early stages of the condition. As the name suggests, this disease occurs due to a build-up of fat in the liver.

If left untreated fatty liver disease can progress to cirrhosis, which is severe scarring of the liver. In extreme cases it can cause liver failure and cancer.

Luckily, there are steps we can all take to prevent fatty liver disease and stop the disease worsening. It is even possible to reverse some of the damage caused.

One expert took to social media platform TikTok to explain how. Harvard-trained gastroenterologist Doctor Saurabh Sethi said: “So if you have been told you have fatty liver, on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the good news is that it is fully reversible.

“I will go over the exact steps you need to take, not only reverse it, but to do so quickly and start seeing the changes in weeks.

“I will also discuss the foods you need to eat, the foods you need to stay away from to fix your liver.”

His recommended steps were:

  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Eat plenty of protein
  • Reduce saturated fat intake
  • Abstaining from alcohol
  • Exercising for 150 minutes a week.

Avoid sugary drinks

These are high in fructose, a key driver in fatty liver disease, he said.

Dr Sethi explained: “Now, we all know about the dangers of sodas and soft drinks, but the sneaky drinks that contain a lot of sugars are juices, which are often promoted as healthy and frequently given to kids.

“If you drink orange juice, apple juice, tomato, cranberry, or any type of juice bought from the store, please look at the ingredient label and see how many grams of sugar you get just from one serving.

Filling soft drink into a glass.

He advised against drinking sugary drinks (Image: Getty)

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“Do not be fooled by statements like it contains natural sugars or it has zero grams of added sugars.

“It may be natural, but it is still highly concentrated and it is consumed without the fiber you would normally get if you were eating a whole fruit.”

For this reason he also advised avoiding sports drinks and energy drinks.

The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 24 to 34 grams of sugar per day.

“But if you suffer from fatty liver, I would abstain from all drinks that contain sugars,” Dr Sethi said.

“Along the same lines, I would also avoid eating fruits like dates or raisins or prunes.”

Eat plenty of protein

According to Dr Sethi, it is “especially important” to eat more protein for breakfast.

Fatty liver

Causes of a fatty liver (Image: Express.co.uk)

He referenced a recent study published in the General Obesity journal that looked at over 9,000 Australians.

It found that eating higher levels of protein for breakfast or the first meal of the day meant people consumed less food or the course of the rest of the day.

“But people that had a low protein breakfast were found to eat more energy dense processed foods and foods that were high in sugars,” he said.

“So if you find yourself constantly craving those sugary or processed foods, foods that will make your liver fatty, try to increase your protein intake, especially for breakfast, and aim to get at least 25 to 35 grams of protein per meal.”

Reduce saturated fat intake

Saturated fats are found in foods such as red meat, processed meats, butter, ice cream, as well as many fried foods.

Dr Sethi said: “So it is important to not overeat saturated fat. And I emphasise not over eating as it is okay to eat saturated fats but in moderation.

“So what that would look like is eating less fats that come from processed meats or eating less store or restaurant bought fried foods or pastries, as well as being careful with ice cream or cheeses.

“At the same time, we need to eat more of the good fats, that is, poly or monounsaturated fats that come from fish, nuts and avocados.

“And when it comes to oils, using olive oil or avocado oil is the best option.”

He added: “Other things that are highly beneficial in reversing fatty liver diseases: abstaining from alcohol.

“In addition to that, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate, intensive activity per week, and making sure to include resistance training or muscle building exercises at least two days a week, would also help you restore your liver to good health.

“If you do all of the things I mentioned in the video, you will see changes in your liver biomarkers in a matter of weeks, as seen in the studies we discussed earlier, and you will eventually fully reverse your fatty liver.”



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