Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for NAFLD & NASH

How can my diet help prevent or treat NAFLD?

If you don’t have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)—you may be able to prevent these conditions by eating a healthy diet, limiting your portion sizes, and maintaining a healthy weight.

If you have NAFLD, your doctor may recommend gradually losing weight if you are overweight or have obesity.

Your doctor may suggest changes to your diet such as

  • limiting your intake of fats, which are high in calories and increase your chance of developing obesity.
  • replacing saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce your chance of heart disease if you have NAFLD.
  • eating more low-glycemic index foods—such as most fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods affect your blood glucose less than high-glycemic index foods, such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes.
  • avoiding foods and drinks that contain large amounts of simple sugars, especially fructose. Fructose is found in sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, and juices. Table sugar, called sucrose, is rapidly changed to glucose and fructose during digestion and is therefore a major source of fructose.

If you have NAFLD, you should minimize alcohol use, which can further damage your liver.

Last Reviewed April 2021
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.