A survey has found that 94.1 percent of Taiwanese with fatty liver disease do not think it affects their lives or health, while 38.1 percent of people with the disease eat out for most of their meals.
The Taiwan Fucoidan Development Association yesterday released the results of a survey it conducted to understand people’s awareness of fatty liver disease and the health effects of eating out.
Many people are fond of eating lunchboxes, which are usually high in calories and fat content, as well as hot pot and stir-fried rice and noodles, association deputy secretary-general and nutritionist Tsai Yi-kuan (蔡儀冠) said.
About one in every four adults in Taiwan has fatty liver disease, 30 percent of whom developed the condition from alcohol use, while obesity and diabetes led to contraction of the disease for about 70 percent, Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital Division of Gastroenterology physician Wu Ming-shun (吳明順) said.
“Many people used to think it is okay to have fatty liver disease, but actually it increases the risk of hypertension and diabetes by one-and-a-half to two times,” he said, adding that more than 70 percent of people with diabetes have fatty liver disease.
Because fatty liver disease usually shows little to no symptoms, many patients neglect it, which risks its development into steatohepatitis (fatty liver hepatitis), cirrhosis or even liver cancer, Wu added.
For example, a man in his 50s who was diagnosed more than 10 years ago with mild fatty liver disease, but continued to eat deep-fried food and drink sugary beverages at least twice a week and led a sedentary lifestyle, developed moderate-to-severe nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and is at risk of developing diabetes, he said.
“The best way to reduce fat in the liver is to lose weight and exercise more,” Wu said.
The survey showed that 66.1 percent of patients do not know what types of foods could reverse the effects of fatty liver disease, while 95.8 percent do not have the habit of counting daily caloric or fat intake, Tsai said.
While eating out, people should choose to eat more vegetables or seaweed, which are low in calories, but high in dietary fiber, replace red meat with low-fat chicken or fish and eat fruit after meals, she said.
She also advised people to not only count calorie intake, but also eat foods with balanced nutrition and to avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat.
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