It’s common to believe that a healthy diet is one that’s low in fat. And while there’s a chance that you could be eating too much fat, there are also important reasons to be sure that your diet contains a sufficient quantity of healthy fats. In fact, new evidence shows that switching to a diet that’s high in the right fats may be the best eating habit for people with a fatty liver.
In a randomized controlled study, data was collected from 165 individuals between the ages of 18 and 78 years old who had both type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to findings that were presented at the International Liver Congress (ILC) 2022 via Medscape. During the study, 110 participants were asked to stick to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for a period of six months while 55 participants stuck to a low-fat diet. All participants were told that when they ate, their goal wasn’t to lose weight or restrict their calories but was instead to eat until they were satisfied and felt full.
The participants who were consuming a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet ended up getting 61% of their calories from fat, which Camilla Dalby Hansen, who presented the findings, explained is “a lot of fat and corresponds to a quarter of a liter of olive oil per day.” Dalby Hansen also noted that the participants “really had to change their mindset a lot, because it was difficult for them to start eating all these fats, especially since we’ve all been told for decades that it isn’t good.”
However, contrary to what many have been led to believe when it comes to fat being unhealthy, at the end of six months, those behind the study found that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet “improved diabetes control, it reduced the fat in the liver, and, even though [participants in the study were] eating as many calories as they were used to until they were full, they lost 5.8% of body weight,” said Dalby Hansen.
Dalby Hansen also noted, “Basically, if you have fat in your liver, you will benefit from eating fat.”
At the same time, Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCESFounder of Healthful Lane Nutrition, tells Eat This, Not That!“While the study findings are metabolically understood, it is important to think of how they are applied in everyday life.”
That’s perhaps why Lane says that when it comes to adding fat to your own diet, you need to consider the fact that “not all fats are created equally.” Lane explains that “highly processed fats like trans fats or even saturated fats are not as healthy for the body as unsaturated fats.”
When it comes to ideal options for unsaturated fats, Lane suggests avocado, nuts, and salmon, as well as both olives and olive oil.
To find even more fatty foods that you might want to add to your next meal, be sure to read The 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss.
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more