We know foods like doughnuts and soda can make you fat, but the effects of sugar on liver and brain are far more alarming and most of us are not familiar with. Dietary sugar can damage your liver very much the same way that alcohol can. At its most severe, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can progress to dysfunction of liver or liver failure.It is estimated that around 32% of the Indian populace is affected by fatty liver ailment 1.

On the occasion of World Health Day, Global Hospitals Mumbai, India’s fastest growing chain of tertiary care, multi-superspecialty and multi-organ transplant hospitals intensifies the drive on #HealthyFood#HealthyLiver#HealthyLife, backing the WHO theme of ‘Food’.

We know that the liver is the engine room of our body, helping us, among many other duties, to digest food and get rid of useless toxins.Excess intake of dietary sugar can create havoc with the liver functioning, and may lead to fat deposits in your liver termed as Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Overweight people are likely candidates for NAFLD. Memory loss and diminished cognitive function are often the first symptoms, as the liver loses its ability to filter toxins, which affect brain functioning and can lead to a coma.

Dr. Samir Shah Head of Department Hepatology, Global Hospitals Mumbai says “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition causing a variety of liver problems. While it resembles alcohol-induced liver damage, NAFLD can affect people who don’t consume alcohol. Obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are major factors leading to the development of NAFLD. Preventing and treating these conditions is the first step in the management of NAFLD.”

Maintaining a healthy weight through eating a well-balanced diet and being active is the best way to prevent NAFLD. The health risks from being overweight or obese can impact on your physical, social and emotional well-being. People with NAFLD who go on to develop cirrhosis are at higher risk of liver failure.

“Although it is not always possible to avoid NAFLD, as some factors such as genetics cannot be changed, you can significantly reduce your risk by exercising as much as you are able to and eating healthy to control your weight,” adds Dr. Samir Shah.

Better control of existing medical conditions, such as glucose levels in diabetes, can also help prevent the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The best way to avoid NAFLD is to live a regimented life with regular exercise, watching eating habits and keeping a tab of your health, after all “Health is Wealth”.