Metabolic Liver Disease Program
What is fatty liver disease?
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition often associated with obesity, insulin-resistant diabetes and dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or fats in the blood) as well as other metabolic risk factors. NAFLD is diagnosed by abnormal liver function tests or fat in the liver, and sometimes both. NAFLD includes a range of liver damage, which can progress over time.
- Steatosis means abnormal amounts of fat in the liver.
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can occur with steatosis, inflammation, and damage to hepatocytes (liver cells). NASH is reversible.
- Fibrosis is the formation of scar tissue in the liver because of the damage caused by NASH. It is often progressive without treatment.
- Cirrhosis is the build-up of scar tissue from fibrosis and cannot be reversed. This can lead to further complications, like liver cancer and liver failure.
What is NALFD vs. NASH?
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition often associated with obesity, insulin-resistant diabetes and dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or fats in the blood) as well as other metabolic risk factors. NAFLD is diagnosed by abnormal liver function tests or fat in the liver on imaging. NAFLD includes a wide range of liver damage, which can progress over time, and ultimately lead to cirrhosis (non-reversible scarring of the liver). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can occur with steatosis (abnormal amount of fat in the liver), inflammation, and damage to hepatocytes (liver cells). The damage caused by NASH can lead to formation of scar tissue in the liver (fibrosis) and is often progressive without treatment.
What is the Best Diet for NAFLD?
The best diet regimen for NAFLD is one that contributes to weight loss. The focus should be on calorie reduction and a low-carbohydrate intake. The Mediterranean Diet has shown to be the most recommended dietary pattern for patients with NAFLD, as it focuses on low-carb and increased healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acid).
How Much Weight Loss Improves Fatty Liver?
Weight loss of 3% to 5% can improve a reduction in steatosis (fat in the liver), however, 10% or greater has been shown to induce reversal of fibrosis (scarring) and even resolution of steatosis. The most effective treatment for NAFLD/NASH is lifestyle modification with a combination of diet, exercise and weight loss.
Can I Eat Out if I Have Fatty Liver Disease?
Yes, there are many tips and tricks for eating healthy while dining out. First and foremost, ask for it your way. Ask for grilled instead of fried, a side of veggies instead of fries, and always sauce on the side. Pay attention to the “healthy or light” entrée options on the menu, some even come with nutrition facts. Order lean protein like chicken or fish, ask for double or triple the veggies, and drink water throughout the meal. Portion sizes are typically much larger than one serving, so consider splitting a meal with a partner, or boxing up half to go.
Why is NAFLD Important?
Obesity has been on the rise in the U.S. since 1994. Today, more than one-third of Americans are obese. Learn more.
What can you and your doctor do?
What dietary changes can you make to treat your NAFLD? And what your doctor can do to help? Learn more.
Is there more can you do?
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Tips for Eating Out
There are ways to focus on your diet, even at a restaurant. Learn more.
How to Eat Healthy When Ordering From a Delivery Service
Sample Meal Plans
Our meal plans can help you get started. Learn more.
6445 Main Street
Outpatient Center, 22nd Floor
Houston, TX 77030