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fatty liver disease

Fatty Liver Disease…What Is It And Can Keto Help?

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The ketogenic diet and the liver are deeply connected. Afterall, the liver is the hive of activity where ketones are produced. Have you ever heard of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)? Well, it affects around 25% of American adults (which is a lot!). The reason we are looking into NAFLD today is because the connection between NAFLD and the keto diet is really interesting and potentially helpful.

Let’s learn more about keto and the liver, NAFLD and how we can treat it with our favorite low-carb, high-fat diet.

How are the ketogenic diet and the liver connected?

When we quit eating carbs and sugars, our bodies take notice. In short, our bodies start to use any stored up glucose (glycogen) for energy. It then uses stored fat by converting the fat to fatty acids to be used for energy. However, the liver and the brain aren’t so great at using fatty acids for energy, they need some form of glucose. So, the liver starts to turn amino acids (amongst other things) into a new form of glucose, as well as producing ketones. The ketones are sent off into the blood so they can travel to the brain as fuel.

To answer the question in a few words? The liver is where the action happens during the keto diet. The liver creates and distributes the ketones.

What is “fatty liver”?

Fatty liver disease is the term given when the liver contains too much fat. It is broken down into two different categories: alcohol-related and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is because excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cell damage in the liver. When the cells are damaged, they can’t really do their job properly and they end up storing fat in the liver instead of breaking it down and clearing it out.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the name given to fatty liver disease in people whose lifestyle doesn’t include regular alcohol consumption. The risk increases in people who are obese or overweight, have type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Smoking also increases the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty acid disease. There are different stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, from reasonably simple to extremely dangerous. It all comes down to how much damage, scarring and inflammation the liver has been subjected to due to too much fat content.

fatty liver help

Does keto help to treat fatty liver disease?

This is an interesting question considering the fact that the ketogenic diet is a high fat diet. You may be thinking “how can more fat treat a fatty liver”?. Well, it comes down to an overall change in lifestyle and diet in order to lose weight, as weight loss is crucial for people with fatty liver disease who are also overweight. Studies have found that by cutting out sugar and most carbs, the liver has a chance to begin to function properly again and reduce in fattiness. This is because a fatty liver isn’t just due to eating lots of fat, it’s because of a whole range of metabolic issues. Studies have also shown us that only around 15% of the fat in a fatty liver comes from fats we eat. The rest accumulates there because of a range of circumstances including insulin resistance. The liver actually takes excess glucose and turns it into fatty acids, and voila, a fatty liver!

The verdict

This is an interesting question considering the fact that the ketogenic diet is a high fat diet. You may be thinking “how can more fat treat a fatty liver”?. Well, it comes down to an overall change in lifestyle and diet in order to lose weight, as weight loss is crucial for people with fatty liver disease who are also overweight. Studies have found that by cutting out sugar and most carbs, the liver has a chance to begin to function properly again and reduce in fattiness. This is because a fatty liver isn’t just due to eating lots of fat, it’s because of a whole range of metabolic issues. Studies have also shown us that only around 15% of the fat in a fatty liver comes from fats we eat. The rest accumulates there because of a range of circumstances including insulin resistance. The liver actually takes excess glucose and turns it into fatty acids, and voila, a fatty liver!

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