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Fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is unfortunately a condition that is becoming increasingly common nowadays. It is estimated that one in four people currently suffers from this condition.

In the past, it was mainly seen in people who consumed a lot of alcohol, but nowadays it also occurs frequently in people who have insulin resistance. This is because, with an excessive intake of carbohydrates, the body eventually starts using the liver to store the excess carbohydrates.

In this article, you will learn everything about what fatty liver disease entails, how to prevent it, and even how to cure it (if it is not too advanced)!

The function of the liver

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The liver is responsible for maintaining the health of your body. This means that the liver is responsible for removing waste products, neutralizing harmful substances, storing vitamins and minerals, and producing building blocks. Therefore, the liver plays a very important role not only in your overall health but also in your energy level.

What happens in fatty liver disease

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In the first phase, certain parts of the liver are affected due to the formation of inflammation that later turns into scar tissue (also known as liver cirrhosis).

The second phase involves the continued expansion of this scarring until a point is reached where the liver can no longer function. This can be life-threatening. If left untreated, it can even reach a point where a liver transplant becomes the only option…

The causes of fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is always a result of consuming the wrong substances; it doesn’t develop on its own. There are two major culprits: alcohol and sugar.

We all know that alcohol is bad for the liver because it makes the liver process more toxins than it can handle. But did you know that sugar is a real silent killer?
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When there is an excess of carbohydrates (sugars), the liver starts to store these carbohydrates if they cannot be used elsewhere in the body. These stored carbohydrates are converted into fat and become a significant burden and strain on your liver. As a result, the liver becomes less capable of performing its own functions.

If you suffer from fatty liver disease as well as insulin resistance, you’re caught in a vicious cycle. Insulin sensitivity worsens, causing you to store carbohydrates even more rapidly. You can learn more about insulin resistance in this article.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is a condition that often develops silently, meaning you can have it for a long time without realizing it. In most cases, it’s discovered by chance during a blood test because people with fatty liver disease always have elevated liver enzymes.
Because this is a silent condition, it becomes even riskier. It also means that many people are already suffering from it because they don’t realize it in the beginning, and therefore, they won’t be actively working to prevent it. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that people only start taking care of their health when they experience symptoms.

Common symptoms in more advanced stages include:

– Nausea
– Itching (skin problems)
– (Extreme) Fatigue
– Joint pain
– Abdominal pain (upper right side of the abdomen)

As you can see, many of these symptoms can have numerous other causes, so the link to fatty liver disease is not immediately evident. This contributes to the late diagnosis of fatty liver disease in many cases.

Preventing or Even Curing Fatty Liver Disease

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It’s actually quite simple… by addressing the cause!

A ketogenic/low-carb lifestyle allows your liver to have the rest it needs to perform its functions properly again.

The liver is a remarkable organ that can even regenerate if a part of it is removed. So, when your liver is no longer burdened with an excess of carbohydrates, it can recover from the damage (sometimes even completely). However, scar tissue (liver cirrhosis) is permanent damage. In an advanced stage of fatty liver disease, transplantation is the only solution… Make sure it doesn’t come to that!


Adil Mardinoglu, Hao Wu, Elias Bjornson, Cheng Zhang, Antti Hakkarainen, Sari M. Räsänen, Sunjae Lee, Rosellina M. Mancina, Mattias Bergentall, Kirsi H. Pietiläinen, Sanni Söderlund, Niina Matikainen, Marcus Ståhlman, Per-Olof Bergh, Martin Adiels, Brian D. Piening, Marit Granér, Nina Lundbom, Kevin J. Williams, Stefano Romeo, Jens Nielsen, Michael Snyder, Mathias Uhlén, Göran Bergström, Rosie Perkins, Hanns-Ulrich Marschall, Fredrik Bäckhed, Marja-Riitta, Taskinen, Jan Borén, An Integrated Understanding of the Rapid Metabolic Benefits of a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet on Hepatic Steatosis in Humans, Published:February 15, 2018DOI:

Vilar-Gomez E, Athinarayanan SJ, Adams RN, et alPost hoc analyses of surrogate markers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver fibrosis in patients with type 2 diabetes in a digitally supported continuous care intervention: an open-label, non-randomised controlled studyBMJ Open 2019;9:e023597. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023597


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