Go to page content

Treatment of fatty liver disease in diabetes

The best and most effective way to treat fatty liver is to lose weight. In many cases, it is possible to recover from the build-up of fat in the liver, and even inflammatory mutations or slight fibrosis may recover.

Key to treating the fatty liver disease is making healthy lifestyle choices to promote weight loss. Support is available from your nurse or doctor, the nutrition guidance arranged by your healthcare provider, weight control groups or online weight-loss training.

In the case of obesity, the recommendation is to lose 10 percent of weight within one year. Even a 5 percent weight loss reduces the fatty build-up, and losing more weight can correct inflammation-induced mutations.

A suitable diet is in line with the general nutritional recommendations applicable to diabetes:

  • Pay special attention to the quality of fat and favor mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  • Choose fiber-rich sources of carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, berries, and fruits.

  • Try to avoid added sugar, fructose, and rapidly sugaring carbohydrates.

  • Aim to limit alcohol consumption, as both low daily alcohol intake and drinking large quantities a few times a month can be harmful to a fatty liver.

Exercise reduces the build-up of fat in the liver, even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss. Both endurance training and strength training are beneficial.

In addition to alcohol, contributing factors to avoid include some pharmaceutical products and smoking.

If lifestyle changes are not enough to remedy severe obesity, a very low energy diet (VLED), obesity drug therapy or weight loss surgery are considered.

Generally speaking, there is no medication available to treat fatty liver. However, the choice of drug to treat type 2 diabetes can make a difference. Even excluding diabetes, some medications used to achieve weight loss or treat diabetes can be considered for the treatment of fatty liver disease on a case-by-case basis.

Updated 30.9.2023