If your belly got a little pudgy over the winter, you can camouflage it with a roomy T-shirt until daily walking and healthy eating trim the fat. But there’s no fashion fix for the latest body part gaining dangerous weight: your liver.
Yep, your chances of developing a fatty liver have doubled in the last 20 years. They’re now at least 1 in 9, and maybe as high as 1 in 3.
Fatty liver is no joke. It ups your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and serious liver damage, not to mention dementia, impotence, and cancer. How did livers get so endangered? Although overdoing alcohol is the classic cause of liver trouble, it wasn’t fallout from the martini and microbrew-beer crazes.
Instead, blame the usual suspects: eating too much and exercising too little; both increase weight and waist size. And extra pounds around your belly boost your risk for a fatty liver as much as 90%.
The only definitive way to find out if you have a fatty liver is to surgically test a sample — forget that! Take the simpler, smarter route: Slim down if you need to. Slowly losing just 10% of your weight (20 pounds if you weigh 200) is all it takes to get a big improvement.
Do it the smart way: Boost your fiber (more fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains). Replace foods high in saturated fat (meat, regular cheese) with lean protein (fish, skinless poultry breasts, eggs, beans) and low-fat/no-fat dairy. Add some extra omega-3 fat from nuts (especially walnuts), canola and olive oils, and a DHA omega-3 supplement (900 milligrams a day). Done.