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The Anti-Inflammatory Keto Reset, Week 2: Liver Health

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Welcome back Keto Reset challengers! By now you should be noticing some positive effects of having removed sugars and refined carbs from your diet. You might be noticing less brain fog, better sleep, more energy and better athletic performance. 

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Why is the liver so critical to health?

It’s really amazing when you look at something as insidious as chronic inflammation and start to understand just how many parts of the body it can have an effect on. One of the most critical organs in the body is our liver and treating it as such with the utmost care is critical on this anti-inflammatory journey and beyond. Not coincidentally, the liver thrives on a low-carb, high-fat diet, just like the one we’re following for this 4-week challenge. A study published in June 2021 examined the impact of different eating approaches on individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Over the course of 12 weeks, researchers examined 74 patients, randomly assigning each a 12-week NAFLD treatment program with one of three approaches: a low-carb, high-fat diet, a 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, or general healthy lifestyle advice and suggestions from a hepatologist. 

By the study’s end, researchers noted a higher reduction in steatosis (abnormal fat retention in the liver) and overall body weight in those who followed the low-carb, high-fat diet. Compared to the typical NAFLD lifestyle recommendations given by a hepatologist, a low-carb, high-fat diet actually offered more promise and potential.

While those who followed the recommendations of a hepatologist focused primarily on eating a healthy diet and controlling calorie intake, those on the low-carb, high-fat diet saw significant decreases in liver fat. That diet also proved more effective in reducing body weight, helping participants shed extra pounds. To be exact, the low-carb, high-fat diet led to a 7.3 kilogram weight loss; those who stuck with the hepatologist-advised approach lost just 2.5 kilograms.

In addition to the liver health benefits of the low-carb, high-fat diet, researchers also saw healthy improvements in participants who tried the 5:2 intermittent fasting approach. 5:2 intermittent fasting means limiting caloric intake to 500–600 calories a day twice weekly. Those who gave the 5:2 diet a try saw improvements to their cholesterol levels and less liver stiffness, and they lost an average of 7.4 kilograms each. So, there may even be potential benefits to going low-carb, high-fat and trying intermittent fasting at the same time (though it’s important to note the researchers didn’t study this combination of approaches).

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Cooking demo

Here’s Chef Seamus’ recipe of the week, a flavor-packed low-carb, high fat Turmeric Black Cod with Dill Yogurt Sauce. You can also find the full recipe in your challenge cookbook.

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