More than a quarter of adult Germans have a fatty liver. The main reason for the problem is diet. This is why countermeasures can be particularly effective. In his new book, physician Jörn Klasen explains what the perfect anti-fatty liver diet looks like.
More than every fourth adult in Germany has a fatty liver. Hardly any disease can be cured as well with the right diet as fatty liver in its early stages, says doctor Jörn Klasen. “Admittedly, this requires personal initiative and a change in diet initially requires a high degree of discipline. But it’s worth it in several respects: it’s not just your liver that benefits from a healthier lifestyle. You will also feel fitter overall and it will be easier for you to lose weight,” writes the nutritionist in his new book “Tschüss Fettleber”, which has just been published by ZS-Verlag.
“Bye bye fatty liver: Eat better – live healthier” by Jörn Klasen
What the liver particularly likes is a balanced diet with “green” protein, plenty of fiber, high-quality fats, little sugar and few carbohydrates, which prevents obesity and has an anti-inflammatory effect, explains Klasen. As a guide for every day, he recommends these ten golden rules for fighting fatty liver in his book:
The number one basic rule for a healthy liver is: Eat lots of vegetables. Whether beans, peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, spinach or courgettes: colorful and fresh produce from the vegetable department contains almost everything that the (liver) cells need to work with all their might. Vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals have an anti-inflammatory effect, keep the intestines healthy, strengthen the immune system and fill the stomach without burdening it with too many calories.
It’s best to split a pound of vegetables between two or three meals a day. Give preference to products from local regions. Many superfoods, such as cabbage, chard or beetroot, grow almost on our doorstep and come straight from the field to the plate without having to travel long distances. Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso) are a treat for the gut.
Nobody denies that fruit is healthy. It contains valuable vitamins, fiber and trace elements, but should still be consumed with caution when it comes to liver health. This is due to the fructose, which is mainly found in sweet fruits, juices and smoothies. The warning about this seems absurd at first, because apples, pears and Co. are natural foods.
The trick is in the details: Since fructose is twice as sweet as glucose and particularly cheap, the food industry likes to use it – under the guise of natural sweetness – as an inexpensive sweetener for soft drinks, convenience products and many other foods and beverages. This excess makes fructose dangerous because our body is not designed to process large amounts. The liver is stressed because only it can metabolize the fructose.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop eating fruit. Follow four rules:
You can read more about the topic here: Apple dilemma promotes fatty liver and diabetes: what too much fructose causes in the body
The main problem today is that we eat too much, too often and mostly the wrong thing. We take in far more calories than we need for our daily activities. The high sugar consumption plays a central role in this. With an average of 100 grams per day, it is now four times higher than it should be. (…)
A currywurst can be sweetened just like a frozen pizza, canned fruit or a ready-made coleslaw. It is therefore important for liver health not only to avoid sweets as much as possible, but also to recognize sugar traps such as fruit juices. (…) In order to recognize sugar on the list of ingredients on the packaging, it is advisable to pay attention to the ending. If an ingredient ends with -ose, you should avoid the product. Sugar substitutes such as xylitol (E 967) and sorbitol (E 420) are just as little an alternative as sweeteners (steviol glycosides, E 960) from the stevia plant or aspartame (E 951), a synthetic sweetener. The latter have a sweetening power 30 to 3000 times greater than table sugar and make you even more dependent.
Avoid fat to fight fatty liver? This may sound obvious, but it is the wrong approach. You can eat fat for the sake of the liver, but you should choose the right one. Healthy fats are important building blocks for the body. They protect organs and vessels, help keep blood sugar levels under control, inhibit inflammatory processes in the body and keep you slim.
The best fat is in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils (linseed oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil, hemp and algae oil), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts) and fatty sea fish such as salmon or mackerel. You should definitely avoid so-called trans fats, which are produced during the industrial processing of fat and are found in many finished products.
(…) For every kilogram of normal weight, an adult should eat 1 to 1.2 grams of protein throughout the day. It is best to put together your protein plan from few animal sources (eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products) and plenty of plant sources (legumes, oatmeal, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, algae). Plant protein tends to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates and good fat, while animal protein is high in saturated fat.
The role of carbohydrates is often underestimated. Anyone who eats a lot of white bread, pasta, rolls, rice and the like is really fattening the liver. Because our metabolic center stores excess easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of harmful fat. In the evenings in particular, you should avoid the classic filling side dishes and “supper” in the form of toast with butter and sausage. If carbohydrates are put on the plate at all, then it should be complex carbs from whole grain bread, pasta or rice.
Fiber is an essential part of a liver-healthy diet. They ensure that the blood sugar level rises slowly and stimulate the liver’s fat metabolism. They are mainly found in vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grain products. Top suppliers include Jerusalem artichoke, black salsify, chia seeds, flaxseed and wheat bran. (…)
Do you have the feeling that dishes without a piece of meat on the plate are not “real” meals? Then you should rethink your eating habits. You don’t have to become a vegetarian right away, but for the sake of the liver you should avoid meat if possible. This applies in particular to red meat (beef, pork, veal and lamb) and to processed meat in the form of ham, sausage, small sausages or meat loaf. (…)
Highly processed foods like fast food or ready meals are convenient and mostly taste good because they are loaded with unhealthy artificial additives that we can’t get enough of them. But the aftertaste is stale: this “industrial fodder” does not fill you up in the long term and makes us unnaturally eat more and more instead of stopping satisfied. (…)
Prefer calorie and sugar-free drinks, tap or mineral water is ideal. If the latter has a high magnesium content, it also has a beneficial effect on sugar metabolism. Rule of thumb: Drink 0.03 liters per kilogram of normal weight per day. If it’s warm outside or you do a lot of sport, it can be more.
It is best to have the appropriate bottles or cans ready in the morning and drink the planned amount throughout the day. If water tastes too boring for you, you can spice it up with herbs, lemon or ginger slices. Also recommended: unsweetened herbal teas and coffee, which should always be in the cup without milk and sugar. And very important: reduce alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, mixed milk drinks and fruit juices as much as possible.
Surf tip: More than one in four affected – fatty liver is often not recognized: six symptoms are warning signs