Handbook Of Life
Image default

3 worst drinking habits for fatty liver disease, says Dietitian

Fatty liver disease is far more common than you may realize. This disease, which is when someone has too much fat buildup in their liver.

Fatty liver disease is far more common than you may realize. This disease, which is when someone has too much fat buildup in their liver, affects many Americans without them even having symptoms. Unfortunately, if fatty liver disease is left untreated, it may progress and contribute to liver damage.

It’s important to note that there are multiple types of fatty liver disease, with the main two being nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcohol-induced fatty liver disease. Those with alcohol-induced fatty liver are usually heavy drinkers and according to the Cleveland Clinic about 5% of American adults have this. Nonalcoholic fatty liver is caused by other issues, oftentimes related to diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Thankfully, fatty liver disease can oftentimes be prevented and even healed with the proper medications, diet, and other lifestyle shifts. To learn more, we talked with a registered dietitian on the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board, Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, about her recommendations for the worst drinking habits you’ll want to avoid for fatty liver disease.

1. What is Fatty Liver Disease?

What is the liver’s function?

Your liver is an essential organ with multiple life-supporting functions. The liver:

Produces bile, which helps with digestion.
Makes proteins for the body.
Stores iron.
Converts nutrients into energy.
Creates substances that help your blood clot (stick together to heal wounds).
Helps you resist infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria and toxins (substances that can harm your body) from your blood.

What is fatty liver disease?

Fatty liver disease (steatosis) is a common condition caused by having too much fat build up in your liver. A healthy liver contains a small amount of fat. It becomes a problem when fat reaches 5% to 10% of your liver’s weight.

Why is fatty liver disease bad?

In most cases, fatty liver disease doesn’t cause any serious problems or prevent your liver from functioning normally. But for 7% to 30% of people with the condition, fatty liver disease gets worse over time. It progresses through three stages:

Your liver becomes inflamed (swollen), which damages its tissue. This stage is called steatohepatitis.

Scar tissue forms where your liver is damaged. This process is called fibrosis.

Extensive scar tissue replaces healthy tissue. At this point, you have cirrhosis of the liver.

Cirrhosis of the liver

Cirrhosis of the liver is a result of severe damage to the liver. The hard scar tissue that replaces healthy liver tissue slows down the liver’s functioning. Eventually, it can block liver function entirely. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

What are the forms of fatty liver disease?

There are two main forms of fatty liver disease:

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

There are two different types of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease:

Simple fatty liver: This means you have fat in your liver, but you may not have any inflammation in your liver or damage to your liver cells. It usually doesn’t get worse or cause problems with your liver. Most people with NAFLD have simple fatty liver.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): This is much more serious than a simple fatty liver. NASH means you have inflammation in your liver. The inflammation and liver cell damage that happen with NASH can cause serious problems such as fibrosis and cirrhosis, which are types of liver scarring, and liver cancer. About 20% of people with NAFLD have NASH.

Alcohol-Related Fatty Liver Disease (ALD)

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is preventable. It usually gets better when you stop drinking alcohol. If you keep drinking, ALD can cause serious problems. These include:

Enlarged liver. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, but you may have pain or discomfort on the upper right side of your belly.

Alcoholic hepatitis. This is swelling in the liver that can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, and jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes).

Alcoholic cirrhosis. This is a buildup of scar tissue in your liver. It can cause the same symptoms as alcoholic hepatitis plus:

Large amounts of fluid buildup in your belly (the doctor will call it ascites)
High blood pressure in the liver
Bleeding in your body
Confusion and changes in behavior
Enlarged spleen
Liver failure, which can be fatal

Alcohol-related fatty liver disease usually comes first. It can then get worse and become alcoholic hepatitis. Over time, it may turn into alcoholic cirrhosis.

If you drink heavily, talk with your doctor. It’s confidential, and they can help you get your drinking under control to save your health.

What are the symptoms of fatty liver disease?

With ALD and NAFLD, there are usually no symptoms. Some people may have signs such as tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the belly where your liver is.

If you have NASH or get cirrhosis, you may have symptoms such as:

Swollen belly
Enlarged blood vessels underneath your skin
Larger-than-normal breasts in men
Red palms
Skin and eyes that appear yellowish, due to a condition called jaundice

2. Worst drinking habits for fatty liver disease, says Dietitian

Drinking salty beverages, like broth

You may not associate sodium with liver health, but this mineral is linked to the health status of this vital organ.

“Excessive amounts of salt should be avoided with fatty liver disease. While many of us think of excessive sodium as an ingredient that can cause negative effects on our heart health, a lesser-known fact is that it can negatively affect our liver health too by causing some serious damage to the organ,” says Manaker.

If you are craving some broth or a hot soup, try choosing something low in sodium or making your own so that you can control the salt content.

Drinking sugary soda

It’s time to leave those cans and bottles of sweet soda on the shelf.

“Added sugars can increase the fat built up in the liver. And since sugary sodas contain a significant amount of added sugar, drinking this beverage frequently with fatty liver disease isn’t a habit that people should get into,” says Manaker.

In a six-year follow-up study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it was found that a higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (like soda, for example) was associated with more liver fat and an increased likeliness of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Drinking alcohol

“Alcohol and fatty liver disease don’t mix,” says Manaker. “Drinking alcohol can contribute to fats being built up in the liver.” Not only can drinking alcohol in excess lead to potential liver damage, but drinking alcohol if you already have fatty liver disease can speed up the progression.

According to a study published in Translational Gastroenterology and Hepatology, participants who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had a greater chance of their nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progressing.

Source: Clevelandclinic/Webmd/Eatthis!

Related posts

The worst yogurt for blood sugar that diabetics should avoid


10 worst foods for your kidneys that you need avoid


What supplement is the best for strong bones after 50?


The #1 worst eating habit that lead to fatal prostate cancer


6 foods you should never cook in the air fryer


What does added sugar affect your cholesterol?