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Fatty Liver Cirrhosis: Eating too many refined carbohydrates could be a trigger

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While the first stage of the fatty liver doesn’t pose harm in most cases, as the condition progresses the more dangerous it becomes and leads to liver cirrhosis. From liver failure to cancer, untreated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can stir up serious complications. One trigger for this condition is refined carbohydrates, according to an expert.

“Fatty Liver Cirrhosis is a common condition in the Western world due to our rich diet and high levels of obesity, together with a lack of physical activity,” said Dr. Clare Morrison from MedExpress. “Most people who have fatty liver have no idea they have it, as it doesn’t tend to cause symptoms, particularly in the early stages.”

Fatty liver disease describes a range of conditions that have one thing in common – the build-up of fat in your liver.

One food component that can lead to this excess fat being stored in the organ is refined carbohydrates.

4 different stages of Fatty Liver Cirrhosis are:

  • First Stage
    Steatosis. Inflammation of the bile duct or liver leads to the first stage of liver disease
  • Second Stage
    Scarring (fibrosis) of the liver due to inflammation. …
  • Third Stage: Cirrhosis
  • Fourth Stage
    Liver failure or advanced liver disease or hepatic failure.

Fatty Liver – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Dr. Morrison said: “Fatty liver develops when excess fat is stored in the liver.

“This is generally due to eating too much, particularly refined carbohydrates (starchy or sugary foods).

“These foods cause a rise in blood sugar, which triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that encourages the body to store fat.

“This is a vicious cycle as fat in the liver impairs its ability to respond to insulin, leading to insulin resistance, and hence more insulin being produced.”

According to Holland & Barrett, refined carbohydrates include the likes of:

  • Sugar-sweetened foods such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, and pastries
  • Fizzy drinks and some fruit juices and smoothies
  • White pasta and white bread
  • White rice
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals, cereal bars, and energy bars.

Although these foods represent a source of comfort, having too much could be harmful to you and your liver health.

What are the symptoms of fatty liver cirrhosis?

As the expert noted, the early stages of the condition don’t usually draw attention to themselves.

But some underlying circumstances could be an indicator of higher risk. Dr. Morrison said: “These include being overweight, particularly if the weight is carried around the waist, as in the ‘apple-shaped’ body.

“It is also more commonly seen in those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, gout, and gallstones.”

However, the later stages of fatty liver disease, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis, can cause some signs to crop up.

Warning Signs You Have a “Fatty Liver,” Say Experts

The NHS explains that these can “occasionally” cause:

  • Dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy (over the lower right side of the ribs)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness.

How to treat fatty liver cirrhosis

Usually, there is no cure for liver cirrhosis, however, we may try managing its symptoms.

Based on the doctor’s advice, it won’t come as a surprise that you need to limit refined carbohydrates.

She added: “The most important treatment for fatty liver is to lose weight by eating a healthy diet with limited refined carbohydrates, but plenty of healthy fats such as olive oil and oily fish, salads, vegetables, and whole grains, and taking regular exercise.

“However, it’s important not to go on a crash diet as rapid weight loss may make the problem worse.

“Instead, cut back by around 500 calories a day, and aim for a steady weight loss of around 0.5 – 1kg a week.”

Tarek Hassanein, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD

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