We often eat without really thinking about what it is we are consuming to fuel our bodies, as such, we don’t think about the effects our food is having on our overall health. Some people just don’t care, some people care – but not enough to do anything about it and some people have such a strong (unhealthy) relationship with food that they can’t bare to think of changing anything. Not to mention, there is so much misinformation out there – how do we learn what is true and what isn’t? Will the next fad diet be the one that will actually work? Probably not.
If you live in North America and have acclimated to the Western Diet – there is a good chance your body is a toxic time bomb waiting to explode. Why? There is something of a secret epidemic going around that stems from the food we eat, hurting our vital organs and causing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. We are talking about fatty liver disease.
What is fatty liver disease and who has it?
Fatty liver disease is quite simply how it sounds, a buildup of fat cells in the liver. There are two types of fatty liver disease, Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Unfortunately, the latter is our biggest concern right now. According to this article, one study concluded that by 2008 75.1% of all chronic liver disease was related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. That is staggering and really scary.
So who suffers from fatty liver? Everyone is susceptible, no matter your age or race. It is estimated that it affects between 80-100 million people in the US alone and that number is expected to rise considerably. No one is immune. Unless you change your entire lifestyle. We’ll get into that later.
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is caused by a number of different things including obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and you guessed it – the food we eat! Sugar is the biggest culprit. Your brain requires sugar to function, it is fueled by glucose (simple sugar), when you consume too much sugar, if your body does not need it right away – it will store it in the liver for a short time. If it continues to go unused, it will convert into fat and remain stored in the liver, thus causing a fatty liver.
Because everything we eat passes through the liver, when sugars pass, the pancreas is then signaled to release insulin which helps to regulate the blood sugar level. If we eat too much sugar and the pancreas becomes overworked, it can begin to break down and cannot properly regulate the blood sugar level, that is when diabetes strikes.
Your liver is probably the most important organ you have that you want to take the best care of. Most would agree it’s the heart, but if your liver is sick, your heart will also get sick. Remember, fatty liver disease contributes to heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and stroke.
Signs & Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease
There are subtle signs of fatty liver disease and there are critical signs of fatty liver disease. If you have a high fat, high sugar diet and have any of the following symptoms, you may have a fatty liver.
- Constant fatigue
- Brain fog
- Weight gain (mostly around the abdomen)
- Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep.
- Inability to lose weight when working out
- Acne or rashes on the skin
- Headaches or migraines
- Anxiety or mood swings
These symptoms can also signal adrenal fatigue – click here to learn more.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The good news is that fatty liver disease can be completely reversed! With a proper diet, you can heal your liver and rejuvenate it to work properly again, lowering your risk of a multitude of diseases and serious health conditions.
The bad news is that if you choose to do nothing, you can expect to live a life suffering from some disease or serious conditions including the previously mentioned diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, and cancer.
The ugly news is that a lot of these conditions can lead to an early death if not dealt with. Don’t put yourself at risk and completely prevent that type of suffering – keep your body healthy now so that you’re not suffering later.
So What Can I Do Now?
This is the scary part because it involves a major change. A complete overhaul of how you relate to and consume food. First things first, remove sugar from your diet. Let me share a little story with you….
“When I first began my journey to health – I started eating what I thought was healthy foods, I was working out intensely for 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. After 2 months I hadn’t lost a single pound! I was really discouraged and I figured something was wrong. I learned about fatty liver and with that, I took the necessary steps to cure it, including eliminating sugar. I stopped exercising and just focused on my diet. Once I took care of my liver, the weight began to shed naturally. I lost 10 lbs within the first few weeks!”
Sugar is a HUGE culprit to fatty liver disease. If you want to cure it – you need to eliminate it. Don’t move to Stevia or Truvia – despite popular belief these are not good alternatives – they are up there with sucralose and aspartame. Stick with the things mother nature provides in its NATURAL STATE to satisfy your sweet tooth. Stick with raw, unpasteurized honey, maple syrup, dates and event coconut sugar. Limit the amounts to 1-2 tablespoons a day. Nothing more.
Eat your veggies! (and nuts and seeds). I love Dr. Axe and the information he provides, the following image is taken from the Dr. Axe website. It accurately tells you what you need for a healthy liver and what to avoid.
Things like Kale, Spinach, Green Collards, Broccoli, Asparagus, Cabbage, Brussel Spouts Flax seeds, Walnuts, Basil, Garlic, Cilantro, Tumeric, Lemon and Green Tea – these are all fantastic liver cleansing foods and should be consumed daily.
If you’re looking to change and don’t know where to begin, contact me for a free consultation. My job as a health and nutrition coach is to guide you to a healthier, happier lifestyle. I’d love to help you help yourself!
Until next time!