It's believed that up to a third of Australian adults have fatty liver disease, and if you do, it would make sense to reduce your fat intake, right? Wrong.
Dr Peter Brukner explains the reasons behind the growing number of fatty liver disease cases and why healthy fats shouldn’t be avoided, but rather favoured.
Dr Paul Mason: So Peter, fatty liver disease is becoming increasingly common. So is it safe to eat a high fat diet if you have fatty liver disease?
Dr Peter Brukner: Well, you're certainly right, Paul. It's becoming very common. Up to a third of adult Australians have thought they have fatty liver disease and most of them probably don't know they've got it.
Dr Peter Brukner: So what is fatty liver disease? What's really a deposition of fat in your liver. Now, logic would tell you that that should be due to an excess of dietary fat, but the reality is it's actually due to an excessive dietary carbohydrate. So if you eat more carbohydrate, then your body needs at that time, it can be converted into fat in the liver. So it's really too much carbohydrate, not too much fat.
Dr Paul Mason: So, is it really a problem though? Does having a fatty liver have any consequences?
Dr Peter Brukner: Absolutely. It can go on to develop permanent liver damage but probably the most important thing is it's associated with pre diabetes. We know that it is often the first sign that someone is going on to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Peter Brukner: There's a lovely quote from Professor Roy Taylor, a professor in Newcastle, England, who says before type 2 diabetes there is a long silent scream from the liver. And I know from my personal experience, I've had fatty liver for 10 years. Went on a low carb diet and within three months, I'd completely resolved my fatty liver disease.
Dr Paul Mason: So what you're saying, is that having a fatty liver is no reason to avoid fat but it is a good reason to go low carb.
Dr Peter Brukner: Absolutely.