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"Are You Making The Human Version Of Foie Gras?"

Foie Gras…

that rich, buttery, delicate French cuisine that is made of duck or goose liver that has been specially fattened.  The animal has been force fed copious amounts of corn in order to fatten up the liver.

To make the duck/goose liver fatty they feed the animal extra calories but not any old calories.  They feed it CORN.  Corn is a grain (or high starch veggie) that elicits a very specific hormonal response that causes the animal to store fat in all of its cells and most notably it’s liver.  There is so much sugar released from the large quantity of corn consumed that the duck can’t keep up with it and as a result it converts it to fat in the liver.

Guess what can happen when you eat a standard American diet (SAD) that is high in grains, sugar and processed foods?  You can make “human” foie gras or what is better known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is a disease process in which excess fat accumulates in the liver and may contribute to inflammation and/or scarring in the liver and may lead to liver failure or even cancer.  There are usually no specific signs or symptoms associated with fatty liver but it is often associated with obesity, insulin resistance (when your cells don’t respond normally to insulin and result in elevated blood sugars) and dyslipidemia (elevation of cholesterol and triglycerides with a lowering of HDL the “good” cholesterol).  It is diagnosed by blood work, imaging and/or biopsy and it is associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

Notice that they don’t feed the ducks/geese fat to make their liver fatten up.  Eating fat does NOT make you fat, does NOT raise your cholesterol and does NOT spike your blood sugars.

Also notice that in humans a fatty liver is associated with insulin resistance and obesity.  These are diseases of not properly regulating your blood sugar.

Why do you think it’s that way?

Because when dietary fats are consumed they don’t stimulate the hormonal response that causes weight gain like grains do.  In fact consuming fat will often help you burn more body fat under the right conditions.

When grains, sugars and processed foods are consumed they result in a large jump in blood sugars which then triggers the release of the hormone insulin, which cells will often become resistant to when they are exposed to sugar and grains on a regular basis which then causes excess fatty acids to accumulate in the liver and the end result is fatty liver and liver dysfunction.

This is an over simplified view of the process but you get the basic picture.

The key take away when it comes to developing fatty liver and a whole host of chronic diseases is that they are the result of not properly controlling blood sugar.

Blood sugar dysregulation has a direct link to the “foods” you consume.

If you consume excessive amounts of grains, sugars, and processed foods on a regular basis then chances are you will develop a blood sugar problem (insulin resistance or diabetes) which can then lead to chronic diseases like fatty liver, obesity, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, cancer and a long list of diseases associated with chronic systemic inflammation.

You goal and job should be to properly balance your blood sugars on a daily basis.

In doing so you will feel better, sleep better, have more energy, be more lean (aka less body fat) and significantly reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases.

So you may be asking, “How do I properly balance my blood sugar?”

Great question and here are a few tips.

  1. Eat whole foods which have a low impact on blood sugar. Eat plenty of lean protein, green veggies, eggs, nuts/seeds and lots of healthy fats (remember higher “good” fat consumption can put you into a fat burning mode and not really stimulate the release of insulin).  Limit your consumption of whole foods that have a tendency to “spike” blood sugars.  Bananas, oranges, melons, carrots, potatoes, corn and beets for some examples.  Instead consume more green veggies, berries of all sorts, apples and pears.  Some sources of healthy fats are coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, and nuts/seeds as some examples.
  2. Use extreme caution with your beverage choices: Your beverage selection is often a source of sugar that is like a rocket that will cause your insulin levels to soar.  The worst is any beverage that contains high fructose corn syrup.  This stuff is TERRIBLE.  Avoid it if you value your health.  It’s commonly found in soda and other sugary drinks.  I know this is about beverages but high fructose corn syrup can also be hidden in salad dressings, pasta sauces, and candy to name a few.  Read food labels before eating.  Use caution with fruit juices as they are generally loaded with sugar.  Instead stick with good old fashion water. You can also consume plenty of tea (unsweetened of course) and some coffee without sugar on a limited basis.
  3. Exercise: Exercising helps to make your cells more sensitive to insulin.  This will helps your cells better process elevated blood sugars and reduce the chances of the sugar being converted into fat in your liver.  IMPORTANT:  Just because you exercise doesn’t mean that you have a free pass to eat what you want.  You are what you eat and if you are consuming junk your body will be built of junk.  High Intensity Interval Training is a great form of exercise to help you improve your hormonal profile.  I shared information about this in a previous post.  Your training should consist of a combination of aerobic and resistance training.
  4. Get plenty of sleep:  A lack of sleep will adversely alter your hormone profile especially your insulin levels.  A sleep deprived individual develops a hormonal imbalance that is designed to store fat.  This hormonal imbalance will lead to insulin resistance which will then lead to a fatty liver and other chronic diseases in due time.  Be sure to get your Zzzzzzs.
  5. Consume foods/spices that are known to improve insulin sensitivity: Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  The food you eat has a powerful impact on how your body functions so why not feed it what it needs.  Certain food items like green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and berries are a few items that are known to improve your cells sensitivity to insulin.  This means that your body will need to produce less of it and your liver will be less likely to store the excess blood sugars as fat.  Be sure to include ample amounts of these items in your diet on a regular basis.

No one willingly (well at least to my knowledge) wants to make human foie gras out of their livers however the overconsumption of sugar, grains and other processed foods is taking you closer and closer to a fatty liver and you may not even be aware of it until it’s too late.

Follow the 5 steps I’ve shared above and not only reduce your chances of developing a fatty liver but also improve many other aspects of your health, including losing some body fat, as a nice “side effect”.

There you have it.  Start making healthier dietary choices today and enjoy a healthier future!

As always I hope this information has served you and will take you one step closer to your desired health goals.Did you like this information?If so please be sure to let me know what you liked by sending me an email at or leave me a comment on Facebook.  I would love to keep the conversation going.

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Until we chat again remember:  Eat Well, Move Often and Stay Healthy!

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