Fat is primarily broken down and processed in the stomach and throughout the intestinal tract, but other organs play an important role as well including the liver. An unhealthy liver cannot digest and process fats and other toxins, causing the body to store fat cells instead of using them for energy. And we all know what happens when fat cells are stored in the body – your weight increases.
An unhealthy liver also makes it more difficult to lose weight despite your best efforts. You can diet and exercise until you starve yourself and fall over from exhaustion, but you’re not going to see much difference until you get your fat-burning organs in proper working order.
The Liver’s Role in Weight Loss
Your liver is a giant filter responsible for processing everything you put in your body as well as breaking down and releasing the toxins your body naturally produces. Believe it or not, fat cells actually contain a great deal of toxins, making them harder than other types of cells for the liver to process.
Unhealthy and processed foods contain fat and other ingredients that the liver finds difficult to process. When you consume a large amount of these foods, your liver cannot handle the work load and starts storing fat. Additionally, your liver becomes less efficient, resulting in a slower metabolism. So not only does an unhealthy liver result in weight gain, it slows down the very process responsible for weight loss – metabolism.
Your Liver and Your Metabolism
Since your liver is responsible for choosing which fat cells to burn and which ones to store, it is primarily responsible for your metabolic rate – the speed at which your body uses and burns calories. The liver is also responsible for regulating cholesterol levels within the body. Therefore, an efficient and healthy liver burns calories and fat faster, resulting in healthy weight loss and maintenance.
How to Get a Healthy Liver
If your liver is less than healthy, you don’t have to accept the fact that your body burns fat slower than it could. You can improve the health of your liver and increase your metabolism by doing the following:
- Avoid Processed Foods – As mentioned before, the liver finds it difficult to break down processed foods. These foods usually come in boxes and are more convenient than other types of foods. They include frozen pizza, microwave dinners, and most comfort foods. Instead of eating these types of foods, eat fresh foods. Also, avoid foods with trans fats.
- Lower Your Stress – Stress causes the digestive system to slow down, resulting in a slower metabolism. Keep stress at a minimum or learn how to manage it properly. The calmer you are in your daily life, the better your body and fat-burning organs will perform.
- Cleanse – Consider performing a gentle liver cleanse. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate 1-2 servings of vinegar into your diet (a teaspoon or 2). Put a little on your salad as a dressing or on veggies to intensify the flavor while detoxifying your liver at the same time. Apple Cider Vinegar is a great choice. There are also cleaning herbs that you can research that help the liver. However, no detoxing methods will have much impact if you are still eating and drinking junk.
- Drink Water – Most people understand the connection between liver issues and alcohol, but soda, sugary juice and other chemical laden drinks are also not the best choice for a healthy liver. Let water be your drink of choice for a happier liver and happier kidneys.
- Stop drinking alcohol – This really should go without saying. You don’t need the extra calories that are in most alcoholic beverages and you don’t need the liver damage that comes with regular drinking. More info.
The role the liver plays in weight loss is huge. If you want to lose weight and speed up your metabolism, you shouldn’t ignore this vital organ. A healthy, efficient liver will help you reach your weight-loss goals faster.
Side Note: We should take this very seriously due to the rise in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease. “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. It is normal for the liver to contain some fat. However, if more than 5% – 10% percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a fatty liver (steatosis). NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to NAFLD. However, some people develop NAFLD even if they do not have any risk factors. NAFLD affects up to 25% of people in the United States.” – American Liver Foundation