Diet

How the Keto Diet Heals Your Liver to Boost Energy and Speed Weight Loss

Exhaustion, weight gain, and brain fog kept Christine Trimpe, 51, from living her best life — until she discovered the sneaky culprit and easy remedy that restored her energy in just days.

“You should go ahead without me and have a good time. I’m too exhausted. I’ll wait here until you come back,” Christine Trimpe told her husband, Rob. “We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary at Rocky Mountain National Park,” she recalls. “We’d planned a hike, but just a few minutes after heading out I was so overwhelmed with fatigue — physical and emotional — that I couldn’t do it. Rob was disappointed, and so was I. We should have been having fun together. I felt terrible about letting him down, and I never wanted him to feel that way again. 

Signs of a Fatty Liver 

“For three decades, I lived in a constant state of exhaustion, and my relationship with Rob wasn’t the only thing that suffered because of it. When my two kids were young, it was so hard to be the mom I wanted to be. I never played in our backyard with them, never went bike riding with them, never bounced on the trampoline. 

“They were both active on travel sports teams five days a week, and I struggled to keep up with the commitments. When they had games, it took every bit of effort just to carry my chair, walk to the field and watch them play. I feel like I missed out on their childhood. 

“The fatigue also kept me from having friends over. I could barely muster the energy to clean the house for my family, let alone for company! And although I attended church regularly and I really wanted to serve others in need, I didn’t even attempt volunteering for anything because I was always too tired. 

“Add in the brain fog that made it impossible to focus at work, the sleep apnea that didn’t seem to get better despite treatment, and the insomnia that left me wide awake when I desperately needed to sleep, and I truly felt like I was falling apart. 

“Then things got worse. I started having intense menstrual cramps in my late 40s. I’d been diagnosed with endometriosis as a teen, but had a procedure to remove my uterine lining, so it didn’t make sense that my symptoms were back. 

“I went to my gynecologist for answers, and she ordered abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds. The results shocked me: I had ovarian cysts, and I also had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition where fat accumulates in the liver so it can’t do its job of flushing toxins from the body.

“My gynecologist suggested we take a wait-and-watch approach and repeat the test in three months. I wasn’t sure about that, so I did some reading and learned that this is a common approach with ovarian cysts since they can go away on their own. But I knew people who had had fatty liver disease that eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver, so I didn’t want to wait. The diagnosis lit a fire under me. I needed to find out how to reverse fatty liver — fast.

Healing Fatty Liver on the Keto Diet

“With a little research, I learned that eating healthy fats helps balance blood sugar and ‘slim’ a fatty liver, so I immediately overhauled the way I ate. I started following a ketogenic diet — low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat — and I focused on healthy, clean sources of protein like eggs, grass-fed beef, and chicken, plus healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter. 

“I also learned something that shocked me: Many processed carbs are tainted with glyphosate — an herbicide that may prevent liver enzymes from metabolizing fat. I had never heard of glyphosate, but I was surprised to learn about all the problems it’s linked to. I stopped buying packaged processed foods and breads, and also limited grains to lower my exposure to glyphosate and other chemicals. I started only shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, where I could find the healthy whole foods. 

“Within just 30 days, my energy soared, the fog lifted, and I was sleeping better. In six months, the insomnia and apnea were gone, and within a year, I lost 100 pounds! Even better: An ultrasound showed I no longer had fatty liver disease, plus the ovarian cysts were gone. It was hard to believe that simple diet changes helped me completely turn my health around. The keto diet was the easiest diet I’ve ever done and today, it’s my lifestyle — one I wish I had discovered years ago! “Now that fatigue is no longer running my life, I’m unstoppable. I serve in my church and write my blog — JoyfulKetoLife.com — to help other women live their best life. And instead of missing out on the fun, I travel with my family and take special trips with my husband, touring cities like Washington, DC, together. Our marriage has never been better!” 

How to Know if You Have a Fatty Liver

If you’re always tired and have two or more of the symptoms below, exposure to a chemical linked to fatty liver may be to blame. Check with your doctor if you frequently experience any of the symptoms below.

  • Brain fog
  • Weakness 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Blue moods
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye/skin irritation 

What to Do if You Suspect You Have a Fatty Liver

“There’s an epidemic of fatty liver disease in the US,” says Ken D. Berry, MD, author of Lies My Doctor Told Me ($19.33, Amazon). Indeed, more than 80 percent of women over 45 have the condition, in which fat clogs the organ so it can’t perform its metabolic and detox functions, leading to weight gain, fatigue, and fog. And while the high sugar content in the standard American diet is a major factor, new research points to another culprit in our food supply: glyphosate, a chemical sprayed on crops to kill weeds. A new animal study links glyphosate exposure to a three-fold increase in risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

70 percent of people have glyphosate in their system — that’s a 500 percent rise in the past 23 years, according to a University of California at San Diego study. Though some experts (including those associated with Monsanto, the company that uses glyphosate as the active ingredient in its weed killer) have said it’s virtually nontoxic to humans, others urge caution. Says Dr. Berry, “There’s no doubt glyphosate is a molecule of concern.”

A urine test can check glyphosate levels while an ultrasound can diagnose fatty liver. And to help optimize health, consider the following: Keto diets eliminate major sources of glyphosate and reverse fatty liver, says Dr. Berry. His advice: Avoid grains and sugar, limit carb intake to 50 grams a day and opt for green veggies, grass-fed meat, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats like avocado — keto-friendly foods that help the liver eliminate fat and toxins. And go organic and non-GMO when possible — this can cut pesticide exposure by 90 percent in seven days. Aim for 425 mg. of choline daily. It helps the liver break down fat and has been shown to help 80 percent of women reverse fatty liver. Top source: eggs (147 mg.), or consider a supplement.

Coffee for Fatty Liver

“The health benefits of drinking coffee are mind-boggling — and the more you drink, the bigger the benefits,” says liver specialist Sanjiv Chopra, MD. Indeed, studies show risk of liver disease drops 44 percent among those who sip two cups daily — and up to 65 percent with four cups. What’s more, says Dr. Chopra, people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease who drink coffee regularly experience less fibrosis, a hardening of liver tissue that worsens the condition. Experts aren’t sure how coffee protects the liver, but Dr. Chopra points to compounds in the beans that repair liver cells and cut levels of liver-damaging enzymes. And coffee’s perks accrue no matter how it’s brewed or served, he adds. (Just skip the sugar — it can cause the liver to store fat.)

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This article originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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