Eating clean for liver disease - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Eating clean for liver disease

Liberty82 profile image

I know that a healthy diet is talked about a lot with liver disease but I can't believe the difference in my symptoms after just 2 weeks of eating clean. I was eating fairly healthily before but I would have still had the odd treat but I decided 2 weeks ago that only fresh fruit and veg and plenty of fish and eggs, no diary or red meat, just almond milk in my tea and coffee. I get a lot of hot flushes and sweating which is my main symptom along with upper right quadrant pain that spreads around to my shoulder and back. In 2 weeks I've noticed that the intensity of the sweating has greatly improved and the pain is just a niggle now. I knew that diet was important in liver disease but I didnt expect to notice a difference this quickly and it just goes to show even if you think you're eating well that there can be room for improvement. I know that most of you see aware of the importance of a good diet but I just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in 😊

32 Replies

Hi liberty. Yes a healthy clean diet makes a big difference as you are not eating anything that will aggravate the liver. Glad the new diet is working well for you and hope your symptoms carry on decreasing. After several years of healthy eating and a new liver I went into remission for diabetes type 2. I was told after the transplant (7 months ago) that my diabetes could possibly get worse but I have continued with my healthy diet and just a few weeks ago I was told that I was in remission after 20 years. Very best wishes to you. Alf

in reply to alfredthegreat


Well done to you both with your healthy eating. Onwards and upwards to you both. Lynne

I’m trying to convince myself I like almond milk. I eat w lot almonds and don’t like the idea of cows milk, but I’m struggling to get into almond milk. To me, anything that tastes so bad must be healthy 😀 last week it took me 2 hours to eat a bowl of porridge made with almond milk.

But don’t let me put you off. You’re doing great. I’d do a check, though, to make sure you’re not missing out on calcium,

Very true. Low fat dairy is a good alternative to full fat and you still get the same amount of calcium. Alf

I can see this developing into a milk war 😀 Is cows milk, in moderation, bad for the liver? I asked a heart consultant, and his advice was to drink cows milk as the benefit from the calcium it gives far overrides any negatives for cholesterol levels. Just wondered about liver health.

Sorry Liberty82, your post is great. I’m just curious about milk.

Milk and yogurts were on my list for eating when I had Cirrhosis, because you need extra protein and also carbs to prevent muscle wastage. Little and often up to 7 small meal/snacks a day because a cirrhotic liver can only store energy for a couple of hours. Also plenty of carbs at bedtime to help stop the liver taking energy from muscle overnight.

Chees.e was on the list too but in moderation because of high fat.

in reply to Kev12564

There is a few brands that make unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Tastes vastly different than the recycled paper taste of traditional almond milk.

Almond Breeze is my favorite personnaly and is available in the UK

Grank profile image
Grank in reply to

My wife makes almond milk with ground almonds and water. Almond Breeze is her favourite prepared brand (Tesco have it).

Owlie profile image
Owlie in reply to Kev12564

I agree, couldn’t get on with almond milk so water all the way for me!

Kev12564 profile image
Kev12564 in reply to Owlie

Not wishing to sound like I work for the milk marketing board (I already promote alcohol free drinks on here apparently) but be careful with low calcium intake with no milk.

Owlie profile image
Owlie in reply to Kev12564

Hi, thanks for the reply. I do have skimmed milk with oats for breakfast. I’m always grateful for any support on here, now if you could get me an iPhone if you’re anything to do with Apple....!

Grank profile image
Grank in reply to Kev12564

This is Grank’s wife. I’m lactose intolerant and have recently started drinking coconut milk instead of relying solely on almond. I find it much better in tea. It’s also a decent base for smoothies. I found porridge was disgusting with almond milk and just use water. Adcal 5 is a good source of extra calcium.

Kev12564 profile image
Kev12564 in reply to Grank

That’s good advice with the Adcal. I eat a huge bowl of porridge in the morning and use about 500ml of skimmed milk. Almond milk didn’t do it for me. I think coconut milk might have a few more calories? The only non-dairy milk I really like is soy, but I have/had raised levels of uric acid so should avoid that much soy :(

BBTrix profile image
BBTrix in reply to Kev12564

Oat milk is great in porridge.

I get Vitamin D on prescription, it is calcium and supplements your diet. This is pre and post transplant.

Kev12564 profile image
Kev12564 in reply to

It costs about £5 for a years supply over the counter compared to £8.80 prescription charge.

in reply to Kev12564

Anyone who has to take large amounts of medication for life should get a pre-paid. £104 per year, all the prescriptions that you are written and need.

I just retro fitted my pub taps in the old basement bar to now hook up directly to old Betsy in the stable. Moo.

Lol just joking. But it is wild what diet changes can do for your health and how you feel day to day isnt it? I cut out all sugar that isnt naturally occuring and the changes in joint pain and general malaise lifted off quite substantially. Its amazing what horrible effects added sugar has on us. Especially with cirrhosis. It can make you feel like your waking up hungover with out drinking the night before.

Calcium is important and Alf has got some great pointers as well. I personnaly use almond milk for most things like cereal etc. Cant seem to cope with the taste of it in tea though. But cheese and vitamin D as Mark said can supplement that.

Best of wishes. Im glad your seeing improvements it really does lift the spirits !

jazzjam profile image
jazzjam in reply to

This is one struggle I have, cutting sugars, I wish there was a tap in my head to turn it off. Did you just go for it one day and stop or did you substitute it with something for a while?

in reply to jazzjam

I did at first just cut it right out. But i found i got shakes and headaches. Sugar has withdrawl symptoms of its own kind. So i basically slowly cut it down over about a week and half or so and then finally just cut it out entirely. I still eat things that have sugar in them naturally like yogurt and fruit and things like that but have gotten rid of pretty much all added sugar and refined. Maybe once a month ill eat a chocolate bar or something but otherwise no sweets etc. At first its hard because you get cravings but after a few weeks your taste buds almost change and any added sugar just seems unbearingly rich. Sort of how when you cut salt down to normal recommend amounts all of a sudden even a french fry tastes like its bathed in salt now. I pretty much only.drink water as a beverage aside of the recommended coffee. I know this isnt everyones forte and cutting out flavoured drinks can be difficult but for me I dont fancy flavoured drinks much anyways so water works for me.

So far cutting it out and eating greek yogurt twice a day has done worlds of benifit for my guts and joints. I dont get the headaches or joint pains almost at all anymore and the acid reflux and abdominal discomfort has pretty much disappeared. Even the odd time I do eat a chocolate bar i feel that acidic feeling starting to transpire in my stomach and am reminded why i dont anymore.

jazzjam profile image
jazzjam in reply to

After acid reflux for 20+ yrs That’s interesting for me when I look at my diet. Thank you

Hi, well done on the healthy eating, same happened to me and I feel so much better, keep it up! Owlie

I suppose now would be a good time to off load my shares in McDonald's, and KFC come to that.

in reply to

Especially with all the hormones and chlorination heading our way.

in reply to

Think of the sovereignty though... And the blue passports...

Hey Liberty, I thought you hadn’t been diagnosed with liver disease? US and bloods were all good I seem to remember?

Glad that the diet is helping whatever the cause is...

in reply to farranccc

Interesting. I just noticed that myself. The blood work is not at all suggestive of liver disease of any type.

Youre right, i havent been diagnosed with liver disease but since my symptoms started after a paracetomol over dose (unintentional) im still not convinced that there hasnt been some damage. With a bit of research sweating seems to come up a lot with liver damage due to medication, this is my main symptom and it is much worse after taking paracetomol or drinking, ive cut out both and since doing that my periods returned to normal after 18 months of being irregular (since the over dose). Ive had an ultrasound but my bmi comprised it it did say that my liver was hard to see but it appears normal. Dont get me wrong, im very happy nothing has shown up but at the same time i know my body so i'm just going to continue what im doing and hope that whatever damage has been done can be reversed. Ive spoken to the BLT and they agreed that there needs to be more investigation due to my symptoms, they suggested saying to my GP that i should be referred to a hepatoligist or to gastro but they refused due to bloodwork. The BLT is coming here for the roadshow next month so im going to have a fibroscan done hopefully, last year i went to england for one but they couldnt get an accurate reading due to my weight so now that ive lost over a stone im hoping that gives a clearer picture. Whatever comes of it i can notice an improvement in my health with my life style changes so i'll just keep on keeping on ;-)

farranccc profile image
farranccc in reply to Liberty82

I would try to think positively and pray it isn’t liver disease as opposed to presuming it is.

You symptoms could be caused be a million different things, not least by being overweight, as you describe yourself.

Keep with the clean eating and try to exercise if you can - it’ll give you less time to worry about what might be!

Cheers 😊

in reply to Liberty82

By no means am I saying its not or is. The last thing I want you to have is liver disease! So im not questioning how you feel. But if it can be not liver disease than that would be great for you! Thus far your blood work and scans dont indicate it. Like farranccc says just keep up eating great and doing all the healthy stuff and it will likely help to determine whats left symptom wise once you get in optimium health. You might even see your symptoms resolve entirely. Stay positive and dont worry before its needed.

Thanks for your replies guys. I'm a lot more positive since eating clean as my symptoms have almost disappeared. It's amazing! I do get some niggles in my upper right quadrant and my back and my right side is a bit sensitive if I push on it but other than that it's all positive as the sweating has disappeared which was really worrying and its difficult not to fret when you keep getting symptoms so you can't even push it to the back of your mind. I'm hoping my regular periods will fully return now and then I'll be symptoms free. I pray I've had an extremely lucky escape. The abuse my liver has taken over the last 20 years has been unreal. Now I'm so much more aware of the dangers of liver disease and just how cruel the disease is. There really should be more awareness of what can happen if you don't look after yourself, we've all heard about how alcohol and drugs can damage the liver but I don't think many people know much more more than that and reading some of the stories on here is truly heartbreaking but the positivity and support of this forum really is fantastic.

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