Liver-mortality has moved its way to being one of the top 12 causes of death within the United States. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has risen to be the most common form of liver disease in the Western world. Previously NAFLD was deemed a benign condition, but as research continues to grow it has been found that NAFLD can actually be quite dangerous and lead to cirrhosis – a nonreversible form of liver disease which can contribute to death.
At the same time we have seen growing numbers in obesity rates. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population is obese and it contributes to nearly 300,000 deaths annually. Obesity is a serious health condition on its own contributing to such ailments like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, sleep apnea, gallstones and nonalcoholic liver disease.
In order to combat rates of nonalcoholic liver disease it’s important to simultaneously combat the obesity epidemic as well.
What is nonalcoholic liver disease?
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where fat accumulates in and around the liver. As the name suggests alcohol is not a primary factor in NAFLD, unlike in alcohol fatty liver disease. The condition can be hard to diagnose because it can often be symptomless thus people can live years without knowing they have it until complications arise.
When fat accumulates in the liver is leads to inflammation as well as scarring of the liver – fibrosis. When scarring of the liver occurs it becomes a more serious condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. When NAFLD worsens it can ultimately leads to liver failure.
Weight loss of any kind improves liver function
A recent study has shed light on weight loss and the improved function of the liver. Researchers found that in overweight and obese individuals weight loss greatly improved their liver function. Furthermore, the results were seen with all kinds of weight loss strategies – lifestyle changes or weight loss surgery.
For the study participants had nonalcoholic steatohepatitis which roughly affects two to five percent of the American population.
Dr. Giulio Marchesini from the University of Bologna wrote an editorial on the study which he explained, ““While the underlying cause of NASH is unclear, we most commonly see this condition in patients who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. These two large prospective cohort studies strengthen the evidence that, no matter how you lose weight, weight loss improves liver health. Both bariatric surgery for morbidly obese patients or lifestyle modifications are viable options.”
In one of the studies conducted in Cuba liver scarring and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis was reversed in obese and overweight individuals who partook on lifestyle changes involving a low-calorie diet along with exercise over the course of a year.
Weight loss of seven to 10 percent further reduced disease severity in individuals without diabetes. In those who achieved five percent or less reduction in weight loss scarring progressed for the worse.
An additional study from France found that nonalcoholic steatohepatitis disappeared in 85 percent of patients who underwent weight loss surgery up to one year after the surgery was completed. Those with mild steatohepatitis success rates were higher (94 percent).
Both studies clearly reveal the importance of weight loss, now only for the liver but to improve health overall.
How to lose weight naturally
Whether you have a diagnoses liver problem, or simply want to prevent one from occurring, you can benefit from losing weight if you are overweight or obese. Additionally, the benefits won’t just stay with the liver; you will get an overall improvement of health as well. Here are some tips to naturally lose weight.
- Eat more at home than at restaurants
- Include more fruits and vegetables into your diet
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Eliminate tempting snack foods form your home
- Avoid late-night snacking
- Always eat a nutritious breakfast
- Consume more fiber
- Stop smoking
- Minimize drinking alcohol
- Cut out sugary sodas and fruit juices
- Minimize your salt intake
- Eliminate added sugars from your diet