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Dietary Fat And The Liver

Dietary Fat And The Liver

Regulating the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is an essential function of the liver. The dietary composition of micronutrients has a significant influence on liver health. Your liver becomes more prone to diseases when you consume a diet high in fat. An example of unhealthy fat intake is a fatty liver disease that affects 25% population of the world (1).

Impact Of Dietary Fat On Liver:

Fats can satisfy your hunger because they make your food more enjoyable. You might have noticed that you consume a variety of foods to meet your daily requirements that contain dietary fat, whether monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats.

Compared to proteins and carbohydrates, dietary fat contains double the number of calories per gram, meaning that dietary fat is more energy-dense. Consuming too much dietary fat can be harmful to your liver.

Too much dietary fat intake leads to many metabolic disorders, such as fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, affecting the function of your liver (2).

An excessive amount of dietary fat also results in the buildup of fat in the liver, leading to cirrhosis. If you are a patient with hepatitis C, you should opt for a small number of healthy fats.

Types Of Dietary Fat:

Dietary fat is classified into four types:

  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Saturated fat

Fats That Are Good For Liver Health:

Monounsaturated Fats: A healthy type of dietary fat that is good for your liver because they boost the release of triglycerides in your liver. Monounsaturated fats are also called “good fats” because they improve insulin resistance and prevent the leakage of free fatty acids from adipose tissue (3).

You can get monounsaturated fats from:

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Butter and peanut oil
  • Pumpkin seeds

Polyunsaturated Fats: Just like monounsaturated fats, this type of fat is also essential for liver health. It lowers LDL cholesterol levels and prevents you from hepatocellular carcinoma (4).

You can get polyunsaturated fats from:

  • Fatty fish
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds

Fats That Are Bad For Your Liver:

Saturated Fats: This type of dietary fat comes from processed or unhealthy foods that damage your liver and increase the risks of liver diseases. Animal fat and cold meats, as well as full fat dairy products are sources of saturated fats.

Trans Fats: Just like saturated fats, trans fats from processed foods can increase LDL cholesterol levels, affecting liver function. Therefore, you must avoid the intake of these fats to preserve liver function. Hydrogenated oils (in margarines and most bakery products) are the biggest source of trans fats.

References:

  1. Younossi ZM, Koenig AB, Abdelatif D, Fazel Y, Henry L, Wymer M. Global epidemiology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-Meta-analytic assessment of prevalence, incidence, and outcomes. Hepatol Baltim Md. 2016 Jul;64(1):73–84.
  2. Green CJ, Hodson L. The Influence of Dietary Fat on Liver Fat Accumulation. Nutrients. 2014 Nov 10;6(11):5018–33.
  3. Hussein O, Grosovski M, Lasri E, Svalb S, Ravid U, Assy N. Monounsaturated fat decreases hepatic lipid content in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats. World J Gastroenterol WJG. 2007 Jan 21;13(3):361–8.
  4. Facts about polyunsaturated fats: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jul 23]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm
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