Fatty liver disease describes conditions when too much fat is stored in the liver that in some cases can slowly worsen and lead to liver scarring, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Fatty liver is very common and can affect more than 1 in 3 Australians.
MAFLD (Metabolic-Associated Fatty Liver Disease) formerly known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFLD) is the most common type and can range from mild and without inflammation to inflammation, called metabolic steatohepatitis (MeSH).
What causes fatty liver?
The cause of fatty liver is not fully known, although can be hereditary and is commonly associated with other conditions such as diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, high cholesterol, and PCOS. It is important to note that although fatty liver can be associated with a higher body weight, it is not the cause.
Unfortunately, weight loss is often recommended as first-line treatment, despite not being backed up by the research and may result in further weight gain. In addition, strict weight loss diets may increase liver inflammation, as can the restrict-binge cycle that is often the fallout of going on a weight loss diet. Gastric bypass surgeries can also lead to worsening NAFLD in some cases.
How our dietitians can help with fatty liver:
- helping you understand fatty liver and what your blood tests mean
- recommending specific foods, and nutrients to help to reduce the severity or slow its progression
- understanding Mediterranean diet principles, benefits for heart health and exploring changes to support this lifestyle of eating
- recommending safe and evidence-based options for dietary supplementation and alcohol intake
- adapting your salt and fluid intake if your condition has progressed to liver cirrhosis
- helping advocate against weight loss and dieting interventions commonly prescribed by medical professionals which are harmful, unethical, and non-evidence-based
- helping advocate for the same treatment options as would be recommended for people in thinner bodies
- helping explore options for joyful movement
Our Dietitians take a holistic and gentle approach to nutrition for chronic medical conditions such as fatty liver. We understand that health is complex and is influenced by many factors, some out of your control. We are non-judgmental, and our recommendations are evidence-based and we take a weight-neutral approach.