Is your liver sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

By Nutritional Consultant Jessica Robinson

Did you know that the liver is your primary fat-burning organ? Surprisingly, many people do not think that their excess weight has much to do with their liver. Not only is the liver involved in eliminating toxins, precancerous cells and debris, but a healthy liver facilitates fat metabolism and manufactures bile that is needed to eliminate excess fat out of the body through the bowels. Many overweight people have a fatty liver, this means rather than burning fat their liver begins to store fat, making it very difficult to lose weight.

Fatty liver is very common, especially for middle-aged people who carry weight around their abdominal area. The liver can become enlarged and swollen with a greasy appearance. The liver’s ability to burn fat is compromised and it becomes a fat storing organ. Weight loss is not achievable until liver function is improved, through dietary and lifestyle changes. Reversing a fatty liver is not a quick process, depending on the amount of fatty infiltration it can take between 3 and 12 months for the excess fat to be removed from the liver. During this time, it is essential to be patient and stay focused as once liver fat has been removed, weight will begin to drop off!

If you carry excess fat around the abdominal area and find it hard to lose weight, it is very likely you have Syndrome X. Syndrome X is also known as metabolic resistance or the metabolic syndrome. In Syndrome X, the blood insulin levels become elevated because the body needs higher and higher amounts to control the blood glucose levels. This resistance to insulin results from defects in the sensitivity of the body cells to insulin. Your body cells resist the insulin so the pancreas has to secrete more insulin to make up for this lack of sensitivity. This causes blood glucose levels to gradually rise over the years.

If the chemical imbalance of Syndrome X is allowed to continue it can result in diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the cells become so resistant to insulin, that the blood glucose continues to rise to abnormally high levels that remain consistently elevated. Diabetes is very common in overweight people and there is now an epidemic of diabetes in wealthy countries.

Signs of liver dysfunction include:

  • Blood glucose problems and insulin resistance
  • Excessive weight gain and inability to lose weight
  • Fatigue
  • Body odour or bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion/intolerance of fatty foods
  • Lumps of fat in the skin
  • Cellulite
  • Coated tongue
  • Skin rashes and/or itchy skin
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Acne rosacea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Overheating of the body
  • Red palms and soles

Good liver loving foods include:

Raw nuts (cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), seeds (sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflowers seeds, etc), coconut flesh, fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry, seafood and shellfish, eggs, full fat yoghurt, cheeses (fetta, cottage, ricotta, parmesan, etc), red meats (grass fed lamb, beef, venison), cold pressed vegetable, nut and seed oils (coconut, flaxseed, olive, macadamia, avocado), organic apple cider vinegar, whey protein powder (Synd-X protein powder) beans, lentils and split peas, tempeh, tofu, avocadoes and olives, spreads made with nuts, hummus and tahini, fresh and dried herbs and spices.

For more information on reversing fatty liver and facilitating weight loss, we recommend you check out Dr Cabot’s books ‘I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why’ and ‘Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It’.