A key secret to losing weight and keeping it off is to keep the liver healthy and operating at peak performance. The liver, also known as the fat burning organ, is your number one weapon to weight loss. A clean liver is responsible for breaking down, eliminating and neutralizing toxins in the body and breaking down fats in the body.
When your liver functions efficiently it is much easier to lose weight. However, if the liver gets overloaded with increased levels of toxins circulating in the body, those toxins damage organs and glands causing toxic overload which confuses the body and causes poor health. That’s why it’s important to distinguish that a healthy and clean liver, not just any liver is critical to helping lose weight and keeping it off. When your liver is unhealthy it cannot metabolize fat as effectively causing you to have low energy. Absorbing nutrients essential for your body to live becomes harder and your body struggles to fight off diseases. As it relates to weight loss, your body will store excess toxins in fat cells causing weight gain.
In today’s environment, we take in more and more toxins everyday; pollutants, birth control pills, prescription medications, household cleaners, food additives, and pesticides. As we age, toxins build up in our system and create a toxic overload in the body. When the liver is overloaded with toxins, it becomes more difficult to eliminate them so instead, the body begins to store the toxins in fat cells. The more and more toxins we take in everyday, then more and more fat cells are created in the body. Fat cells don’t get broken down very easily so they literally weigh down the body and make the body larger.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, when you have a healthy and clean liver it functions efficiently and losing weight becomes much easier. Losing weight faster, easier and keeping it off is one of the main reasons why liver cleansing is emphasized by so many nutritionists and weight loss experts. The liver has to perform well enough to eliminate the toxins that are causing fat cells in the body. If you have body fat accumulation, especially around the waist and midsection (i.e., belly fat), it suggests your liver may not be functioning properly or efficiently as it could. So to lose this excess weight, you have to detoxify the liver which leads to not only a slimmer waistline, but a thinner body also.
There is a condition known as “fatty liver” which means the liver has stopped processing fat and began storing the fat, right around the waistline. Fatty Liver disease is the most common liver disease in America and affects 20 percent of the population. The major cause of “fatty liver” is not medication, a virus, or pollution, but rather a food that we eat too much of. That food is sugar. So many people are unknowingly addicted to sugar. The average American’s sugar load is about 100 pounds per year. Sugar is devastating not just to your liver but also your overall health including your bones and your immune system. Many people in particular are addicted to white refined sugars. White refined sugar is what’s found in cakes, pies, fruit juices, candy, and so many other things that we crave every day. These are the treats and desserts we most associate with when we think of sugars and are ultimately the same ones that lead to increased weight gain around the midsection (i.e. belly fat).
Increases in sugars in particular white refined sugars as well as high-fructose corn syrup, or refined carbohydrate (like flour, white rice, and potatoes) causes insulin resistance resulting in fat accumulation in the liver cells. Excess sugar also damages the mitochondria. When the mitochondria is damaged, we can’t effectively burn fat or calories, resulting in a slower metabolism and more weight gain. A fatty liver is also an inflamed liver, producing more inflammatory molecules throughout the body, creating free radicals, leading to more mitochondrial damage.
I know someone might be thinking, I believe my liver is working just fine and I can continue with my sugar guilty pleasures. However, in order to maintain a healthy functioning liver, you have to kick the sugar habits as though you are ending an addiction. The key is to understand where your sugar is coming from and then finding foods that are good for the liver. Foods like grapefruits, oatmeal, nuts, fatty fish, olive oils, green teas and even garlic.
Once you discover foods good for the liver and kick sugar habits, how can you identify the signs that show your liver is functioning efficiently? First, you need to look for symptoms of toxic overload. Some of the symptoms of toxic overload in the body include bloating, constipation, indigestion, low energy, fatigue, brain fog, depression, weight gain, chronic pain, infections, allergies, and headaches. If you have concerns about your liver, there are blood tests that can help indicate how well your liver is functioning. However, these tests cannot fully show the true extent of your liver’s functional capacity. In other words, a slight loss in liver function might not show up in traditional blood screening tests. This type of slowdown is often called a “sluggish liver.”
Signs of a sluggish liver are:
- Poor skin tone or flushed facial appearance.
- Discoloration of the eyes
- Dark circles
- Yellow-coated tongue
- Acne or breakouts around the nose, cheeks, and chin
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Moodiness and irritability
- Excessive sweating
- Excessive facial blood vessels
- Red palms and soles, which may also be itchy and inflamed
Our skin, sleep, moods, energy, and longevity all depend on the liver’s ability to function optimally. The great news is that the liver is resilient and can easily regenerate itself. Even if you cut off a piece of the liver, the organ will regrow and continue to function.
One easy way to cleanse the liver is to take herbs or supplements, such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and burdock. These herbs are all-natural and very effective at liver detoxification. As you look for liver cleansers and liver detoxifier products, be sure to only use those that are all-natural and gentle on the body. My favorite liver supplement is one I created called Liver Focus, which can be found on JJSmithOnline.com.