Is your liver quietly dying? If so, you’re not alone. And it may have nothing to do with drinking too much.
Some 40% of Americans have a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It is common in people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes.1
It typically has no symptoms. But here’s the scary part…
It is progressive. It can develop into cirrhosis, which can require a liver transplant. Or turn into liver cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers.
Often, people don’t know they have NAFLD until it is too late.
But a new study shows there may be a solution.
Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands gathered 25 overweight adult volunteers. Fifteen had been previously diagnosed with NAFLD.2
The researchers put them on a low-calorie diet for eight weeks. All the subjects lost up to 8% of their body weight.
Then they were put on a weight maintenance diet of either moderate protein or high protein for two years.
The moderate-protein group ate one-third gram of protein a day per pound of body weight. The high-protein group ate just over a half gram per pound of body weight.
So a 200-pound man in the moderate-protein group would have gotten about 66 grams of protein. The same man would have gotten about 100 grams in the high-protein group.
At the start of the weight-maintenance program, the research team took blood and urine samples. They also performed body scans to assess the subjects’ liver fat.
They repeated these tests two years later at the end of the study.
Protein Cures Fatty Liver
The researchers found that increased protein reduced liver fat. Both groups had better liver health. But those high-protein group had bigger gains on average. In fact, eight subjects in the high-protein group previously who had been diagnosed with NAFLD no longer had the disease after the study. Protein cured their liver condition.
“These findings stress the clinical implications and potential benefits of increased protein intake after weight loss for people with NAFLD,” the researchers concluded.3
The study recently was published in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism.4
Top 10 Best High-Protein Foods
We’ve been recommending a high-protein, low-carb diet for years. Aside from better liver health, it helps you lose or manage weight while maintaining muscle.5
The best part? Eating more protein is not difficult. It won’t leave you hungry. Protein keeps you fuller longer.
Here are 10 excellent sources of protein:
- Organic turkey
- Organic chicken
- Grass-fed beef
- Grass-fed pork
- Wild-caught fish
- Wild-caught shellfish
- Raw nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts
- Raw seeds, including sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Full-fat organic dairy
- Organic eggs
One more thing…
Protein powder supplements are another option. Once used mainly by bodybuilders, they have become popular among seniors who want to add strength.
But be sure to read the label before you buy. Many protein supplements are packed with artificial colors, sugars, soy, hydrolyzed proteins, and artificial flavors. Look for grass-fed varieties that soy-free.