Human fatty liver disease: the NASH diet and lifestyle to halt its progression

Human fatty liver disease: the NASH diet and lifestyle to halt its progression

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH), or fatty liver disease, is affecting more and more people in France and Europe. Dietary changes can slow the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and prevent permanent liver damage. There is no approved drug treatment for NASH. Ways to manage the condition include lifestyle and diet changes, including eating a diet rich in a variety of plant foods. A NASH-friendly diet will also limit or eliminate certain types of foods, such as animal products and processed foods.

The presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis indicates that a person’s liver has excess fat and inflammation that can cause scarring or cirrhosis. The buildup of scar tissue in the liver can affect its function, and if left untreated, this scarring can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. A nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-friendly diet can prevent or reduce further harm to a person with this disease.

Here’s what the NASH diet is all about, along with foods to eat, foods to avoid, and other lifestyle changes people with this disease can benefit from.

Diet for fatty liver disease

The healthy NASH diet focuses on making changes to the diet by including many nutritious foods. The program may seem restrictive at first and may require major changes in some people’s daily eating habits. However, the nutritious NASH diet still allows for a range of foods.


Vegetables are essential to overall health. Regular consumption of a wide variety of vegetables ensures that the body receives a large amount of nutrients and vitamins. Adults should consume about 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day, depending on their gender and age.

Here are some examples of vegetable groups:

Dark green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, mustard greens, and spinach
Root vegetables, such as yam, turnip, and beets
Legumes, especially beans, peas and lentils
Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
Alliums such as onions, garlic, and leeks
Stem vegetables such as celery, asparagus, and fennel.
There are many vegetables that should be included in the diet. Perhaps the most important thing is to find a variety and eat enough vegetables every day.

the fruit

Fruit can be part of the NASH diet in moderation. Whole fruit can provide many nutrients and vitamins to the body and is a suitable snack or dessert.

May include fruit

Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange and grapefruit
Core fruits such as apricots, plums, and peaches
Berries, especially raspberries, raspberries and blackberries
– Watermelon and watermelon
Tropical fruits like pineapple, banana and papaya.

all grains

Whole grains can be an alternative to processed and refined grains and are rich in fiber and nutrients.

Whole grains or their alternatives include:

– Wheat
– brown rice
– barley
– Oatmeal
– corn
– black wheat
– quinoa

Good sources of protein

The NASH diet will also include appropriate protein sources. Here are some protein options that can fit into a healthy liver diet:

Fatty fish such as cod, sardines, and salmon
Cooked shellfish such as shrimp, crab and lobster
Lean poultry such as chicken or turkey
Lean red meat
– egg
Legumes and beans such as soy products, lentils or chickpeas
Nuts such as almonds, cashews or peanuts.

healthy fats

A healthy diet still leaves room for fats, but it focuses on replacing saturated and trans fats with nutritious polyunsaturated fats.

Here are some examples of nutritious fat sources:

– nuts
Seeds, such as chia and flax
Extra virgin olive oil
– olive
– lawyers
Fatty fish such as sardines, herring and salmon.


Few diets follow the principles of healthy eating. However, with a few modifications, it may be easier to adapt to some eating plans than to try to create a new diet. Low-carb diets, which limit added sugars and refined carbohydrates, are among the types of diets that can follow a similar eating pattern to the NASH diet. Additionally, low-fat diets that limit saturated and trans fats may also work.

Foods to avoid with fatty liver disease

The NASH diet will also focus on modifying the diet by excluding or limiting certain foods, including the following.

sweet foods

Foods that are high in sugar can be a high calorie source with low nutritional value for many people. Many sweet foods also contain fructose, a fruit sugar that breaks down the liver during digestion. The body also breaks down other sugars, such as sucrose or table sugar, into glucose and fructose during digestion, which means that sugar is another source of fructose. Research from 2021 indicates that fructose in the diet stimulates the body to produce more fat and contributes to insulin resistance. It also suggests that fructose consumption is a major potential dietary risk factor for fatty liver disease.

Here are some examples of sugary foods to limit or avoid:

Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices and fruit cocktails
– Jams and jellies sweetened with sugars
Baked or canned foods containing added sugars
– Sweets and other sweets
– Ice cream
Sauces and condiments containing added sugars.

Refined or processed carbohydrates

Processed carbohydrates can cause a similar increase in sugars in the body after digestion. An appropriate NASH diet may limit or avoid refined or processed carbohydrates, such as:

– White bread
– White rice
– Carbohydrates and starchy foods
Foods that are usually fried, such as french fries and potato chips
Fatty foods

Doctors may also recommend eliminating foods high in saturated fats, trans fats or hydrogenated oils.

These fats are a source of high calories that increase the risk of obesity. Non-dietary fats can also increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease. Both diseases are considered risk factors for developing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

There are many food sources of this fat to avoid, and doctors may recommend eliminating or significantly reducing the following sources:

Fatty red meats such as beef, lamb, and pork
– Cold cuts, cold cuts and canned sausages
– baked goods, cakes and cookies
Canned foods that contain saturated fats and hydrogenated oils
Fat-laden dairy products, ice cream and yoghurt.

Other dietary changes

Doctors may also recommend limiting or adding other foods depending on a person’s risk factors. This may include:

– Reducing sodium intake
– Refrain from consuming alcohol
Eliminate dietary supplements that may affect the liver
Adding coffee to the diet
Add green tea to your diet
Add a variety of spices to his diet

Lifestyle change

A liver-friendly diet is one of many beneficial changes to help protect and reduce liver damage. Doctors also recommend other lifestyle changes:

Regular aerobic exercise

Active exercise that increases your heart rate is good for overall health and can help burn calories and maintain a moderate weight. Doing about 150 minutes per week of activity that raises the heart rate is sufficient for most people. This takes about 30 minutes per day of activities such as:

– The fast walking
– gardening
– Weight lifting
– trot
– bicycle
– swimming
– martial arts

Maintain a moderate weight

Maintaining a moderate weight is an essential step in the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Losing as little as 3-5% of your body weight can reduce fat in your liver. Significant increases, about 7-10% of total body weight, can also help reduce inflammation and scarring caused by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

other factors

Controlling other factors is an important part of treating or preventing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. This may include:

Diabetes control
Keep cholesterol within a healthy range
– Avoid alcohol
– Avoid smoking
Use only over-the-counter medicines that can affect the liver under the supervision of a doctor
Consult a healthcare professional before taking dietary supplements
Consider vaccinations against diseases that can affect the liver, such as hepatitis.

to remember

Dietary changes can prevent ongoing liver damage and slow the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). People with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis tend to have a buildup of fat and inflammation in the liver, which can lead to organ damage in the form of scarring or fibrosis. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains is a vital change in the diet for people with NASH. Avoiding or limiting sugary foods, fatty foods, and refined carbohydrates also helps slow the progression of the disease. People with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are also advised to exercise regularly and maintain a moderate weight.


Cardoso, AC, et al. (2021). The current management of NAFLD/NASH.

Chalasani, N.; , and others. (2017). Diagnosis and treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: practice guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and NASH. (second abbreviation).

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

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