Nutrition: Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

For More Information
Please Contact Us

Fatty Liver Disease (nonalcoholic) is a condition where the liver has trouble breaking down fats (triglycerides) that build-up in the liver cells (hepatocytes) of patients who do not abuse alcohol. Fatty Liver Disease has become the leading cause of chronic liver disease in children and adolescents in the United States. The cause of fatty liver disease is not clear, but it is thought to be from being overweight and obese. Approximately 90% of children with Fatty Liver Disease are obese (BMI greater than the 95% percentile for their age and gender). Certain diseases and conditions tend to increase the risk of developing fatty liver disease such as family history, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Most people don’t have any symptoms, especially in the beginning. Children may have abdominal pain, which may be in the center or right upper part of their abdomen. Other symptoms may include being tired and weak (fatigue), weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and confusion.
At this time, there is no medicine or medical treatment that can cure this disease; but it can be stopped or reversed. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, not drinking alcohol, or taking any unnecessary medicines may help prevent liver damage from starting or reversing it in the early stages. If weight loss is needed, slowly loosing the weight is best. The doctor and a registered dietitian can work together to treat this disease.

Weight Loss 10% reduction of initial body weight over six months
Maintenance of weight loss
 Total Fat

 Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

(Olive oil, Canola oil, Sunflower oil, Avocado, Peanut butter, Olives)

 15% to 25% of total calories
 Increase Omega 3 fatty acids

 Saturated fatty acids

(Whole fat dairy, Butter, Chicken with Skin, High fat cuts of meat, Palm Oil, Fried Foods)

 7% to 10% of total calories
 Carbohydrates  50% of total calories
 >50% carbohydrate sources from whole grains
Avoid high fructose corn syrup
Added sugars <10% of total calories
 Antioxidants None
 Physical Activity ≥150 minutes/week of moderate exercise or ≥75 minutes/week vigorous intensity
 Cardiovascular exercise five times a week
 Resistance training two times a week
 Decrease time spent sedentary

Today’s Dietitian Vol 16 No 1

Healthy Food Options


  • Whole grain toas/Whole grain waffle with peanut butter
  • Egg Whites and Turkey Bacon
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa and Fruit
  • Low fat Yogurt
  • High Fiber Cereal with Low Fat Milk


  • Whole Grain pasta, veggies and chicken
  • Whole wheat tortilla with veggies and hummus
  • Lean turkey breast on whole grain bread
  • Salad loaded with veggies, lean protein and low fat dressing
  • Broth or tomato-based low fat soup.


  • Edamame
  • Pita Chips with salsa
  • Low fat cottage cheese and fruit
  • Veggies with fat free dip, hummus, or guacamole
  • Trail Mix with dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit with Nut Spread