Jun 272013

cure-fatty-liver-2A diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease can be a real downer, but it may hearten you to know that there are steps you can take to reverse this condition.

This second step in reversing Fatty Liver Disease is to change your diet.

Ouch! Very few of us want to hear that we need to change our diet. With some exceptions, the average modern citizen of Western Civilization does not eat healthy or follow the nutritional and dietary guidelines needed for good health.

Your fatty liver may well be a direct result of poor diet and nutrition, coupled with lack of exercise.

If this sounds depressingly familiar as a description of your lifestyle, not to worry – you won’t have to live on celery sticks and water for the rest for your life to reverse Fatty Liver Disease … but you will need to begin taking care of your health.

How Diet Helps Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

At this point, you might be wondering how you can go about putting your liver on a diet. After all, it’s your liver that’s fat, right?


However, in order to reduce the fat in your liver, you must reduce the fat in and on the rest of your body (at least 10%).

A healthy, nutritious diet instead of one made up primarily of fat, sugar and cholesterol laden empty calories can bring about a dramatic reversal of Fatty Liver Disease.

Here are some suggestions for what to eat if you want to lose weight and get rid of Fatty Liver Disease:

  • Vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Beans
  • Fresh Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Healthy Fats and Oils
  • Eggs (including egg yolk)
  • Whole Grains

Eating a daily diet that is well balanced and includes all of the recommended food groups will be amazingly effective in reversing your disease.

The Fatty Liver Diet Guide has a complete diet plan and over 30 pages of recipes (including liver-friendly desserts!)

Just as important as knowing what to eat is knowing what NOT to eat.

Fatty Liver Disease: Foods to Avoid

Here are some suggestions on foods and beverages to avoid if you have a fatty liver:

  • Sugary, sweet, fructose-loaded foods of any kind
  • Sodas and fruit punches
  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Alcohol

As a rule of thumb, you should avoid any highly processed foods, too, if you have Fatty Liver Disease.

If you have been eating a nutrient poor diet, you may be panicking and almost breaking out in a cold sweat at the thought of giving up those unhealthy foods you love and crave.

This is normal.

Almost everyone that has had to drastically alter their eating habits and learn to make healthy choices, such as eating a fresh carrot instead of reaching for a glazed donut, has experienced the same feelings you are and been where you’re at right now.

You Must Stick to Your New Way of Life – Reverse the Food Psychologists!

One of the marvelous things about the human body – not to mention the human psyche – is its ability to adapt. Over time, as you bypass those unhealthy foods that may have contributed to your disease in favor of healthy foods that help to reverse the condition, you will find yourself actually preferring the foods high in nutritional value.

Practice this the next time you go shopping: only stick to the walls of your grocery store. This is where all the fruits, vegetables and fresh meats and whole-grain breads are. AVOID the center aisles, as this is where the processed foods are.

Learn some food psychology, as grocery chains have spent millions of dollars on the best ways to get you to buy junk food – at eye level, using welcoming colors (and even scents), and at the checkout and the front of the store. Even the music is tested to see which is best to have you buy the most food.

When you do have to go to the middle aisles, look on the higher and lower shelves … this is where the less desirable (and thus likely the healthier and less marketed) food options are.

True, there will be times when you may find yourself Jonesing for a candy bar or a banana split. It’s okay to take a “break” once a week. But, for the most part, you will discover that both physically and mentally, your body will prefer to eat a healthy diet.

Your Body and Tastes Will Adjust, and You Won’t Want to Go Back

As for myself, I also had a history of high blood pressure. My doctor said to cut down the salt. Impossible, I thought!

For the first few weeks, I stuck with it, skipping the salt shaker, cutting down on salty foods, and beginning to look at how much sodium was in the processed food I bought (and trying to find low-sodium options). Luckily, I never really craved salt, but food was definitely more bland. I stuck to it, and sometimes substituted with hot sauce, being careful to choose sauces low in sodium.

After a month, I decided to have a pepperoni stick … and it burned my tongue! It tasted horrible. That’s because my body had actually adjusted itself and I lost the taste for salt. I can no longer enjoy a lot of menu items at restaurants, knowing the massive amounts of sodium they add. I ask to “hold the salt” and most cooks are accommodating.

Now, when I make soups and meals for family and friends, I tell them that they will have to add their own salt. I find that my soup tastes just right – others find that they need to add salt. To each their own. My blood pressure is down to normal, and I feel a lot better.

Same with the rest of my diet when I was first diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Two months after I began my diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meat, I went to a restaurant and had a greasy burger (everybody slips.)

I got a stomach ache afterwards (not to mention I drank a lot of water due to the salt content), and I found that I was actually craving vegetables.

That evening, I ended up going to my local grocer for some fresh asparagus. I grilled it up, adding some olive oil and pepper, and ate them all. My body is literally addicted to vegetables!

Your body will adjust, and you will feel a lot better. When you begin eating the right foods, you are taking a giant step toward your health. Your liver (and by extension, the rest of your body) will love you for it.

 Posted by at 6:31 am

  52 Responses to “Step 2: What To Eat”

  1. Can you eat eggs? I love eggs.

  2. Do you every have any exercise suggestions for people with numb legs/nerve dmg.. from 3 back surgeries, that the feet can walk if my brain says to walk, i have to be very focused. It seems everything includes walking! I have a job that I am seated most of the day and have gained weight in the last 20 years, now it hits! Ansy suggestions that others might use, not the ones that are so fortunate to have the use of their legs. Sue M. Anderson

    • A lot of “losing weight” actually focuses on what you eat – the number of calories burned per day vs. the number you consume. So, instead of fighting to exercise, try a Mediterranean diet instead (which is what I have done) – olive oil, fish, vegetables and fruit. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to chart out the best approach for you.

    • Try aqua aerobics or walking in the swimming pool/beach. Takes th weight and pressure off your legs etc

  3. In African set up, it is very difficult to get such foods as spinach how do I substitute?

  4. I feel sad right now because I have fatty liver and I LOVE food! I am 7 pounds overweight. It’s not really the sad end-of-the-world-sad. I just miss eating burgers, fries, pizza, donuts etc. Now I see my family eating those and I envy them so bad. I wonder if I can reverse this in a month so I can have just one bite of those foods again? I won’t go back to my old habit but I reaaaaally want a bite. Just a bite :(. I am not making any sense. I think I am having withdrawal symptoms :).

    • I certainly understand, Wency! I had (sometimes still have) the cravings. What you can do is have a one day a week break, but don’t go overboard (ie one donut, not six!), and make sure it’s only that one day. Make sure you are also exercising regularly. It definitely is unfair to see your friends eating whatever you want, and not getting sick. You might not believe it, but if you do stick to a new “lifestyle diet,” you won’t crave the fat and grease in those foods anymore.

      With me, it was salt, and I had hypertension along with fatty liver. So, I cut out the salt as well. It was very difficult at first, however, I persevered. About a month later, I had some potato chips … and it stung my tongue! It tasted horribly salty! I thought maybe I had a bad batch. Nope, it turned out my body actually started getting used to less salt. I can’t stand salty foods anymore, and I have to ask them to halve the salt when I go to restaurants.

  5. can the condition (fatty liver)be completely reversed?

    • I have fatty liver grade 3, I am on a diet now, but recently I had cows liver as I am fond of it, is it bad or good for my fatty liver. Can you also suggest some fruits and vegetables I can eat, and also if I can have Egg.

      • Yes, you can still eat liver, and eggs are great because they contain choline. There’s some studies (like this one) that say a diet deficient in choline (a type of B vitamin) contributes to fatty liver. Best fruits and vegetables would be apples, pears, raspberries, oranges, avocados, beets, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and cabbage … but pretty well all fruits and veggies are good. I’d reduce eating bananas and potatoes, which have lots of sugar and starch.

  6. How long does it take to not feel so tired I started this diet before I bought this book I get full really fast and was wondering if this is normal and also I am not hungry I have to eat even though I am not hungry .also been on this diet for 5 days I have lost 5 lbs already I do not want to shock my liver is this normal thx Pat

    • That’s too much weight to lose, too fast. I would definitely check with your doctor to see if something else is going on. Feeling tired and a lack of appetite is a symptom of hepatitis. If you have a hepatitis infection, you should get better on its own after a few weeks, though it may take a couple months, but definitely get it checked out, as certain types can be more serious. Did you get blood tests done to rule this out?

    • Hi pat
      What the name of your book?

      • The Liver Diet Guide. I didn’t write it, I just read it for my own bout with fatty liver – it worked, I’m healthy again, and I decided to start a blog to help others.

  7. Is it ok to eat chicken liver while on a fatty liver diet?

    • Yes! It is a great source of choline, a type of B vitamin that is needed for a healthy liver. (Choline is also found in egg yolks)

  8. hello. I have been diagnosed with grade III fatty liver. My doctor suggested that I should start walking to bring my weight down. I have been walking for 15 mins for the past 10 days. Now i have been feeling pain in my right side (below rib cage) when i start walking. I have taken a break for the past 2 days. Why am i feeling this pain & what can i do to prevent it?

  9. Hi fellow gardener! lol I have been reading all your responses and have learned soooo much. Thank you so much! I had my Gallbladder out 6 months ago and after suffering for 20 years with it I was so happy to have it out. Right after the surgery I went back to the doctor and he said I had a Fatty Liver but I I thought it was because I was overweight and no big deal. So I went on to try every food I could not have before and had great fun for a while.

    But this last week I have been having all the symptoms and pain in my right side. I was afraid to eat anything so I went to juicing a nice green drink. However I now have diarrhea. I read it’s okay to eat eggs so I just made some. We will see! lol My question, Is Cantaloupe a problem with a Fatter Liver. I had a huge slice of it last week which I could swear it touched this off. I washed it really good and took a one inch huge slice though the middle and ate it all. It felt like too much at the time. Wow, lots of bathroom runs since then. Well, now I am getting more serious about me SoCal Garden! I’m 67 and I hope it’s not too late for me!

    Thanks again for your generous tips!

    • Hello Freida!

      Ha, I don’t think it was the cantaloupe. Likely it was stomach upset due to “fruit binging” (is that possible?) Cantaloupe is good for you, but like all fruit, it does “loosen” things up inside. Happy gardening! I’m harvesting another batch of tomatoes today for salsa.

  10. Great website here, extremely informative and useful! I have been also diagnosed with a fatty liver a few months ago and decided to completely change my lifestyle in order to reverse this condition that really scares me. I saw that there are a ton of different approaches to diets, what to eat and what not to eat when it comes to a fatty liver, so I’ve decided that the best approach is a semi-vegetarian one, without consuming any alcohol or fried foods. Veggies and fruits are our friends in this case and everybody will be shocked how well they will feel after changing to a healthy diet. I personally lost almost 20 lbs in three months after changing to this healthy diet. I was indeed overweight and lost more in the first month, while now it’s about 2-3 pounds per week, but my weight is still going down, I feel a lot better and I never starve myself.

  11. How long does it take to reverse fatty liver?

    • It all depends on your current health and stage of the disease. I had moderate fatty liver, and it took about eight months to show normal liver enzymes. But I’ve heard ranges from 3 months to 2 years, so it’s best to talk to your doctor.

  12. I am learning some info that I was not aware if before now about fatty liver. I read a report from my doctor about me and it reported I drank from 0-2 drinks which I do not. Right now I an kind if confused. The report also had more mistakes. What can or how can I follow up with getting better information.

  13. Greg,
    I have really learnt a lot reading all this. I have a question….as ive been prescribed “Brown Bread” can i
    toast it,to lessen its “impact”? Ive tried all the others and i get a pain in my Liver,which is discouraging.
    So,i do not eat any Bread.. brown or otherwise. Is this okay? What about carbs?
    I really appreciate what i am learning and also to know that there are other people like me with NAFLD stage 3.
    The Dr has put me on a strict diet…chicken/fish,all vegetables,avocado,papaya,citrus fruit,brown bread and coffee and dark chocolate.Oh yes,and extra virgin olive oil.I am feeling better following this,i admit. Thanks alot,Greg for your patience,

    • Toasted brown bread has the same carbs as regular. The only reason why whole wheat bread is better than white is because of the fiber, which helps bind the sugars – carbs are converted to sugar in your body. With fiber, the sugar is processed more slowly. Plus, it makes you feel fuller, so you don’t eat as much. That’s why, for diabetics, juice is bad (no fiber), but certain fruits can still be eaten (sugar plus fiber). Take care!

  14. Hi Greg,

    It is really nice to see your response/feedback for all those who are facing some problems. It is really appreciated.

    Is it ok to have fruits like 2 tangerine; plum; few berries per day who is suffering from fatty liver and sugar levels in border? How about Israeli pearl couscous/qunioa once a week and rest of the day’s cracked wheat?

    It is really helpful if u can guide us..

    Thanks and God bless you

    • That should all be good, but talk with your doctor if you have other issues. The main things to avoid are refined sugars, pastries, white bread, soft drinks and other foods where sugars and carbs are not locked with fiber. The fiber helps your liver process the sugars more slowly, and thus helps avoid any sugar spikes that could further harm your body. Take care!

  15. I have diagnosed recently diffuse fatty liver changes. i don’t drink alcohol and i’m less than a 100 lbs at 5’4″. how did i get it and what can i eat and what can i not eat?

    • Causes are poorly understood, but there is more direct evidence that it is a metabolic disease interlinked with obesity, bad diet (ie refined breads, soft drinks and “junk food”) and diabetes. It could also have been caused by certain medications, or even just hereditary. I wish I can help more, but the steps I suggest should help give you an idea of healthy foods to eat to help stop and even reverse the condition. Best of health!

  16. Help! My son age 16 was diagnosed with a fatty liver and it has been very difficult for him to change his eating habits, it has also been difficult for me to explain to him the importance of the changes he has to make, because being his mom he thinks I’m nagging at him…I would like to know if you have recipes that will help the transition to healthier eating be easier for him. Thank you for your time.

    • There are a lot of recipes in the guide I suggest – also see if you can persuade him to take up some activities – team sports, swimming, etc. One trick that worked for me was swapping Pepsi with soda water and a squirt of juice to make a spritzer. It’s all about swapping bad foods for better foods. Maybe also try swapping potato chips for organic tortilla chips? Ice cream for frozen yogurt? Introduce trail mixes? Do a search for “swap snack foods” for some ideas. Best of luck! I have a grandson about to enter his teenage years, so I know how tough it can be!

  17. in trying to eat right i have switched from white potatoes to sweet potatoes/yams.. i was just informed in the past few days that i have fatty liver, and my liver functions isn’t working properly. growing up i had meat and potatoes every meal. have replaced alot of potatoes, rice and pasta with more veggies. and sweet potatoes.. will the sweet potatoes hinder my liver from improving? having them about once or twice a week.. roasted in the oven with a mix of olive oil and a touch of butter. where i used to put alot of brown sugar and cinnamon i no longer eat them that way .. i eat them plain.. and found out they are great with no sugar .. the doctor told me to add a dash of cinnamon to it for its good for health as well.. am assuming the sweet potatoes are ok with her approval for the use of cinnamon..what is your opinion on this?

    • You are absolutely right! Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index – less sugars and more vitamins and fiber – over regular potatoes. Cinnamon is fine, brown sugar is not (it is simply white sugar with molasses). Keep up the good work!

  18. I’m not sure if my symptoms are related to my liver or not. All of my tests (labs, ultra sound and CT) have come back normal. But, I feel like I did before I had my gallbladder removed 3 years ago.

  19. Hi. Can you please tell me if eating chowmein is ok if one has enlarged liver? Thanks

    • Chow mein noodles are carbohydrates and are often cooked in oil, and the fat content is high … so, I would avoid them.

  20. Hello,
    Many Many thanks to Greg and all contributors who have helped me a lot in understanding my Grade 11 Fatty Liver. I have been advised to walk till I sweat for half an hour daily and my dietitian has place me on a months meal plan after which a review is required. No carbs, oil, butter, cheese, any type of sweets , juices the lot. Instead lots of veggies, a small piece of fruit after every meal, lean meats, fish. Dinner before 7.30pm. Boiled grain for breakfast with fruit at least three times a week. Eg: Cow pea, chick peas, green gram. I squeeze over lots of lime juice with no salt and it tastes great. But daily 10am and 3pm green or plain tea with two crackers or a piece of fruit. I have to lose 5 kgs in a month !!. My cholesterol and pressure is under control Thank God. Greg I have taken a lot of advise re the type of veggies that are good for this type of condition from your Blog. Once again many many thanks and blessings on you and your family. Ayesha

  21. I recently had an ultrasound due to pain I had which I thought was due to my gallbladder because gallbladder problems run in my family. However, the result was “early fatty liver infiltration” which is the earliest stage of fatty liver disease. My blood work was normal. So I have joined a gym and, although I was eating pretty well the last few months , have really made good choices with my diet. I need to lose a substantial amount of weight. I have lost 13 pounds in the last 2-3 months. The doctor thinks it was caused primarily from my weight. With this condition, do you think the fatty liver condition can be reversed easily since it is in such an early stage? I really enjoy your blog, too! It has given me hope. Thanks!

    • Given what you’ve said here, yes, it sounds as if your NAFLD is reversible. The liver has remarkable healing capabilities if treated correctly. It sounds as if you’re doing that by revamping your diet and getting plenty of exercise. Congratulations and continued good health to you.

  22. Good day,

    I would like to take some advises from you. In my abdomen ultrasound it shows that I had a mild diffuse fatty liver changing to grade 1. Please give me some advise on how to get a normal and healthy liver? I had gallbladder removal 1 month ago and right now I avoided to eat hig fatty foods. But most of the time I feel I have acidic and gases in my stomach.

    • Have you read the ebook? See the sidebar to get your free copy. As to the acidic reaction, from what I understand, this is not uncommon for some gallbladder removal patients, but I would ask the doctor about this issue.

  23. in case of enlarged liver, is eating chowmein ok? Thanks

    • It can be, depending upon how it’s prepared. It can be tricky to know exactly what went into a takeout/restaurant dish (careful – you won’t always get the whole truth if you ask; I’ve had this experience), so I’d recommend finding a healthy recipe using lean cuts of chicken, beef or pork (depending upon the type of chow mein you want) and focusing on lots of vegetables in the dish.

  24. Hi Greg! I just got diagnosed with a fatty liver..im having an aching pain on my ride side near my ribcage for days now..ultrasound showed i had an enlarged liver and a smallstone on my gallbladder..i havnt gotten any other tests done yet or bloodwork..im extremely desperate to know what is causing all of this..Ive been to several gi docs and they tell me excercise and a healthy diet is all i can do..im 5’4 weigh 156 pnds. 29 years old.. i just started changing my diet i was never a healthy eater. Do you have any suggestion?? I also have an underactive thyroid..and i am having muscle aches in my legs and knees, hairloss and shortness of breath!!! Thanks in advance!! Im so worried!!!

    • Don’t worry yet, but do go back to your doctor. Did you inform him/her of your hair loss, shortness of breath, etc.? Exercise and a healthy diet are definitely places to start. Improper diet is a very very common reason for NAFLD. Please report back and let me know what your doctor says and how you are feeling.

  25. Can I eat pork if I have fatty liver and what can I take to help me reverse it

    • Unless your doctor has given you restrictions against pork, lean cuts of pork are fine, as well as lean cuts of beef, chicken or fish.

  26. Is it okay to eat pork or chicken meat? Because i have fatty liver

    • Unless your doctor has given you dietary restrictions against pork or chicken, these can be a healthy part of your liver health program. Choose lean cuts and make sure you get your vegetables in as well.

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