One of the first things that most people do when they find out that they have a fatty liver / NAFLD is to switch to eating entirely or mostly organic because, well, organic is healthy and we need healthy food to reverse the fatty liver! However, even though both statements are generally true, there are some nuances that have to be considered before making the decision to switch to eating organic food and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article and answer the burning question: should you switch to organic food if you have a fatty liver?
The first and most important thing that you should know is that a food is labeled as “organic” it doesn’t mean that it is automatically healthy. There are a ton of organic foods out there that have a ton of added sugar and other sweeteners and/or tons of fat. High fat foods and especially foods with a lot of added sugar, fructose syrup or other sweeteners are a big NO when it comes to a perfect fatty liver diet, meaning that even though the ingredients are organic, the product itself would harm your liver just as much as a regular one would because of the high carbs/fat content.
The second thing that you have to consider is the price. Organic food is a lot more expensive than the regularly grown products and for many people this can be an issue. It’s not a shame to admit that you simply can’t afford to eat organic – that’s the case of many people in the world – nor you should bust your economies just to eat the “healthy” food. It is true, the lack of pesticides, fertilizers and other baddies used in traditional agriculture is better for your liver, but I personally believe that you can get similar results with some smart shopping and home cooking.
Shop smart – that’s the key!
Depending on the area you live in, you might find local farmers who grow their products basically organically (but without the certification). Those products are usually cheaper than store bought goods and a lot cheaper than organic food, and just as healthy. So if you can find a steady supply of fruits, vegetables and meat/poultry, then you’re all settled.
If not, you can still shop smart and cook your own food in order to minimize the problems caused by traditionally (or should I say modern?) grown crops and animals: check out the list of the “dirty dozen” (the fruits and vegetables with most pesticides), and focus on buying the cleanest products. You can find the list here and the fruits and vegetables on the list are usually the same every year…
Even if you get foods from the dirty dozen list (which are not organically grown – organically grown crops should be safe and grown without pesticides), you can still make them safe(r) to eat by: either removing the peel or washing them carefully with hot water and a special veggie & fruit detergent (like the Veggie Wash). This way you will get rid of many of the pesticides, since the most of them remains on the peel and doesn’t get inside the actual fruit or vegetable.
So should you switch to eating organic if you have a fatty liver? If financially you can handle it AND you pay attention to the ingredient list (same rules apply here: go for unprocessed foods that have no or little sugar and/or fat), then organic food is certainly the safer option since you eliminate a ton of chemicals that your body has to deal with.
However, you can still reduce the amount of chemicals and crap that regular food has by doing all of the following: cooking your food at home (this allows you to know exactly what ingredients you use and that they’re properly sanitized), making sure that you carefully wash the fruits and vegetables and/or remove the peel to get rid of the extra chemicals and avoid processed foods at all costs. If you manage to find somebody who locally grows produce with little use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, then it’s even better.
In the end, you should know that if you manage to change your diet and way of living, you will automatically consume less chemicals and bad things for your body and liver than the regular person even if you don’t eat organic food exclusively.
So how am I approaching this? I am mixing them up – I buy as much organic food as I can afford and I buy it smart: discounts and large quantities, focusing on replacing fruits and veggies from the dirty dozen with their organic counterparts, always reading the labels to know what I’m buying (many products, especially meat, are better than others even if they’re not organic) and making sure to cook most of my meals at home. So far it seems that it works!