Presse Santé

What to Eat When You Have Fatty Liver and Get Back to Normal?

The body stores fat for energy and insulation in many areas, including the liver. If the fat content of the liver is too high, it can be a sign of fatty liver disease. Dietary changes are the first-line treatment for this condition.

There are two main types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Pregnant women can also develop a form of fatty liver disease known as acute gestational fatty liver disease. This rare complication can occur during the third trimester or in the early postnatal period. Fatty liver disease damages the liver, preventing it from removing toxins from the blood and producing bile for the digestive system. When the liver is unable to perform these tasks effectively, a person is at risk of developing other problems throughout the body.

Lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, are key to managing fatty liver disease. Eating a balanced diet can also help prevent malnutrition in people with the disease who have developed cirrhosis. Research shows that up to 92% of people with cirrhosis are malnourished.

In this article, we suggest several foods to include in a diet for fatty liver disease and other foods to avoid.

Food and drink to cure fatty liver

Eating natural, unprocessed foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein is a good place to start. They can provide long-lasting energy and a feeling of satiety. Some people choose certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet. This diet is a particularly good choice for sufferers because it minimizes processed foods, added sugars, and saturated fat. Depending on the type of fatty liver a person has, a dietitian can help them create a personalized eating plan tailored to their tastes, symptoms, and medical condition. Here are some specific foods that may be particularly helpful for people with fatty liver disease:


Garlic is a staple in many diets and may provide benefits for people with fatty liver disease. A 2016 study in Advanced Biomedical Research found that garlic powder supplements appeared to help reduce people’s body weight and body fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids

A 2016 review of current research suggests that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may improve liver fat and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in sufferers.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are:

the salmon


Drinking coffee is a morning ritual for many people. However, it may offer benefits beyond an energy boost for people with fatty liver disease.
A 2019 animal study found that decaffeinated coffee reduced liver damage and inflammation in mice fed a diet high in fat, fructose, and cholesterol. Another study in mice from the same year showed similar results. The researchers found that coffee reduced the amount of fat that accumulated in the mice’s livers and improved the way their bodies metabolized energy.


Eating a variety of whole vegetables is helpful for people with fatty liver disease, and broccoli is one vegetable that someone with fatty liver disease should seriously consider including in their diet. A 2016 animal study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that long-term consumption of broccoli helped prevent fat buildup in the livers of mice. Researchers have yet to do more human studies. However, early research on the effect of broccoli consumption on the development of fatty liver disease is promising.

Green tea

The use of tea for medicinal purposes is a practice that is thousands of years old. Green tea provides several antioxidants such as B. Catechin. Research suggests these antioxidants may help improve symptoms of fatty liver disease.


While all tree nuts are great additions to any diet plan, walnuts are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids and may be beneficial for those with fatty liver. Although more research is needed, a 2019 study in the journal Liver International found that higher nut consumption was significantly associated with lower NAFLD levels.

soy or whey protein

A 2019 review in Nutrients magazine found that soy and whey protein reduced fat accumulation in the liver. The results of a review study showed that liver fat decreased by 20% in overweight women who consumed 60 grams (g) of whey protein daily for 4 weeks. Soy protein contains antioxidants called isoflavones that help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fat in the body.

Food and drinks to avoid

Adding healthy foods to your diet is one way to treat fatty liver disease. However, it is just as important for people with this condition to avoid or limit their intake of certain other foods.

sugar and added sugar

People with fatty liver disease should avoid or limit added sugars. These can contribute to increased blood sugar levels and increased fats in the liver.
Manufacturers often add sugar to candy, ice cream, and sugary beverages like soda and fruit drinks. Added sugars are also found in packaged foods, baked goods, and even store-bought coffee and tea. Cutting out other sugars like fructose and corn syrup can also help minimize fat in the liver.

The alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the most common causes of acute and chronic liver disease. Alcohol affects the liver and contributes to fatty liver disease and other conditions such as cirrhosis. A person with fatty liver disease should try to reduce their alcohol consumption or eliminate it from their diet altogether.

Refined grain

Processed and refined grains are found in white bread, white pasta, and white rice. Producers strip these highly processed grains of fiber, which can raise blood sugar when the body breaks it down. A 2015 study of 73 adults with NAFLD found that those who ate fewer refined grains had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increase the likelihood of various health conditions. People can substitute potatoes, legumes, or whole grain and whole grain alternatives for refined grains.

Fried or salted foods

Eating too much fried or salty food is likely to increase caloric intake and can cause a person to develop obesity, a common cause of fatty liver disease.
Adding spices and herbs to a meal is a great way to flavor food without adding salt. People can also usually bake or steam food instead of frying it.


A 2019 review article notes that eating saturated fat increases the amount of fat around organs, including the liver. Beef, pork and sausages are all high in saturated fat. A person with fatty liver disease tries to avoid these foods as much as possible. Lean meat, fish, tofu or tempeh can be substituted. However, wild, oily fish may be your best bet as it also provides omega-3 fatty acids.

Lifestyle Changes

Implementing lifestyle changes can help people with fatty liver disease reduce and manage their symptoms.

Here are some examples of useful changes:

Adjust calorie intake

For sufferers, weight loss is the most important strategy. A 5% reduction in body weight can reduce the amount of fat in a person’s liver. A person with NAFLD typically needs to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day or reduce their daily intake by 500 to 1,000 calories to see results. It depends on the person’s body mass. Malnutrition is a problem for people with fatty liver. Research suggests that the optimal calorie intake for people with this condition is around 2,000 calories per day, which equates to about 1.2 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight. Smaller, more frequent meals with shorter intervals can improve food intake.

Be physically active

Regular exercise is important for everyone. However, it has additional benefits for people with fatty liver disease in terms of symptom management. Get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

Here are some tips to get more active

Use a standing workstation
stretch every morning
walk on a treadmill
take the stairs instead of the elevator

These are all easy ways to increase activity levels throughout the day without taking the time to complete a full workout.

When to consult a doctor or nutritionist?

If diet and exercise are not having the desired effect on fatty liver symptoms, a doctor’s visit should be considered. The doctor may refer the person to a dietitian to help develop a diet plan. No currently approved drug can treat fatty liver disease, but diet and lifestyle choices can significantly improve the condition.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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