Can The Keto Diet Help You Reverse Fatty Liver?
Starting from weight loss to reductions in blood glucose levels, there are a lot of benefits of a keto diet that are already discussed in plenty.
Here is something else to make you smile!
There are a large number of studies and clinical trials that prove a keto diet is an effective solution to fatty liver, especially the Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
To know how keto works on reducing fat deposits in the liver, you should start by understanding the basics of this condition.
What is fatty liver?
This is a condition that is also called hepatic steatosis. It is a result of too much fat buildup in the liver. There are two kinds of fatty liver diseases.
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD)
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is a result of fat deposition in the liver because of excessive alcohol intake. Because of the excess alcohol, the cells of the liver get damaged and they are unable to break fat effectively. This results in fat deposition.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is fat build up in the liver of people who are not excessive alcohol drinkers. The number of people diagnosed with NAFLD is increasing rapidly in the last few years.
This 2019 study analyzed the presence of fat deposits in the liver of 986 Indian male patients. Out of these, 543 individuals (55.1%) had fat deposits in their liver. Amongst these 543 individuals, only 15 of them showed signs of AFLD. The remaining 528 people had NAFLD.
What causes NAFLD?
- Weight gain and obesity
- Lack of physical activity
- Type II diabetes
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
The logical explanation here would be that when you treat these causes of NAFLD, you will cure the condition successfully.
Here are ways a keto diet handles all these causes of fatty liver.
Keto induced weight loss for fatty liver
Amongst all the current diet forms followed, keto is one of the best to facilitate quicker and more effective weight loss.
On a keto diet, you strictly restrict your carbohydrate intake and tune your body to start using fat as an energy source instead of glucose.
As a result, your body also starts burning fat deposits in the body, including the fats deposited in the liver.
A particular study analyzed the effects of weight loss as a treatment for the NAFLD condition. 23 obese and overweight subjects were chosen and they were all put on weight loss programs for three months.
At the end of the third month, their fat deposits in the liver were again tested through ultrasonography. All of them had reduced fat deposits, thanks to the weight loss.
How does keto make you active, inducing fat loss in the liver?
This 2017 study on lifestyle modifications as a cure for NAFLD mentions that people with this condition need to get more active to handle the condition better. Being physically active burns more energy than you can consume and helps people burn fat deposits. Also, people who work out more have a 34% lesser risk of developing NAFLD.
Keto is a diet that makes you super active. You always feel energetic and ready for working out or running around the whole day. With just a few weeks of following a keto diet, you will see a tremendous increase in your stamina and energy and this facilitates you to work out more, indirectly curing NAFLD.
Keto diet for type II-induced NAFLD
According to this 2018 study, type II diabetes and NAFLD co-exist. Type II diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors for developing fat deposits in the liver. In fact, this study suggests that people with diabetes should regularly be screened for fatty liver.
If you are a type II diabetic and are worried about developing NAFLD, then the best diet for you to help beat both the conditions is keto.
A keto diet curbs down your body’s glucose intake. This prevents blood sugar levels from rising up. As your body gets into ketosis and starts burning fat instead of glucose for energy, you will notice that your HbA1c levels slowly come down and your dependency on medications and insulin also drops.
This, in turn, will help deal with fatty liver.
Keto, triglycerides, and fatty liver
Triglycerides are fats found in your bloodstream. As you keep gorging on equal amounts of carbohydrates and fat, your body keeps using carbs for energy and starts storing fat throughout the body, including in the liver.
Increased levels of triglycerides in the blood increase your chance of developing fatty liver. One particular study on the long term effects of ketogenic diets in obese patients concludes that keto helped reduce triglyceride levels significantly in the body, reducing the risk of developing fatty liver.
Other benefits of a keto diet for fatty liver
Improves Fatty Acid oxidation
Fatty acid oxidation is the process by which your body breaks down fat into units that can be used for energy. When the oxidation is more, your stored fat deposits are used up. This 2018 article concludes that a ketogenic diet improves Fatty Acid oxidation in the body, thereby preventing fatty liver.
A keto diet helps you feel and stay fuller for longer periods of time
When you are always tempted to eat food or if you feel hungry often, losing weight can be a challenge. This is a challenge with other regular calorie-restricted diets. With a keto diet, however, this is not a problem.
Since you consume a lot of fat, hunger will be a thing of the past. You are happy with the meals you eat and you do not have to look for snacks too. This definitely helps reduce weight and bring down the intensity of the fatty liver.
Provides a quicker solution to fatty liver
Unlike other diet methods that need a minimum of 3-6 months to start showing results, you will notice weight loss from the very first week of following keto. If your fatty liver is threatening to ruin your health and your quality of life, then the faster you lose weight, the better it is.
Keto is the best for this.
People with both Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases can benefit immensely by following a keto diet. If you are on medications for the same, talk to your doctor before you try the diet.
Choose healthier poly and monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fats to get better health benefits. When ignored, a fatty liver can lead to a lot of health hazards. Use keto to take action right away.