If you are a healthy person, you might not think twice about your liver and for good reason. This is because if you are healthy, you are probably not even aware of what your liver’s doing. Yet because the liver is such an important organ, it makes sense to educate yourself about it.
What you eat, drink, and consume in general plays a significant role in your liver’s health. Bad habits you may have once followed can come back to haunt your liver. Take note of the items below. They are damaging to your liver.
Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to create fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup cause a fatty build-up that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you are not overweight. This is one more reason to limit foods with added sugars, like soda, pastries, and candy.
Too much vitamin A
You can find vitamin A in eggs and milk as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are red, orange, and yellow. Many supplements also include it since it helps improve vision, strengthen bones, and give a boost to your immune system. But in very high doses, vitamin A is toxic to the liver. To stay safe, never take more than 10,000 IU a day.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
MSG enhances the flavour of many packaged and prepared foods, from chips to diet drinks. You might see it on a food label as ‘hydrolyzed vegetable protein,’ ‘yeast extract,’ or ‘soy extract.’ Still, some studies suggest that the chemical may make the liver fatty and inflamed, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer.
Just because the label says natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. Studies show some of these supplements can keep the liver from working, causing hepatitis and liver failure. You should always talk to your doctor before you take any herbs to make sure they are safe.
If you are carrying around extra weight, fat can also build up in your liver cells, which can lead to NAFLD. It can make the liver swell. Over time, hardened scar tissue can replace healthy tissue, a condition doctors call cirrhosis. People who are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes are at highest risk of NAFLD. There’s no cure, but eating well and exercise can sometimes reverse the disease.
Scientists studied the diets of a group of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, taking into account their weight, the amount of fat in their blood, and if they had diabetes. One thing stood out: 80 per cent of them drank two or more soft drinks a day. It didn’t matter if it was calorie-free or regular soda, which means an ingredient besides sugar could play a role in the condition. Researchers think artificial sweeteners might be to blame.
Trans-fats are a man-made fat common in packaged foods and baked goods. You will see them listed in the ingredients as ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.’ A diet high in trans fats not only boosts your chances of gaining weight, it makes severe liver disease with scar tissue more likely. In one study, mice that ate a fast-food diet high in trans-fats had liver damage after only four months.
*Additional reports from webmd.com