A diet for diabetes and liver problems balances the needs of both conditions effectively. Diabetics need to monitor carbohydrate intake to keep blood sugar levels within range, while those with liver problems needs to reduce the intake of foods that stress the liver, such as protein. Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids should also be a part of your diet. If you have diabetes and liver problems, speak to your doctor or health care practitioner about the optimal diet for you.
Coexistence of Conditions
The coexistence of diabetes and liver problems such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver failure occurs regularly, according to an article in the March 2007 issue of "Diabetes Care." Recommended diet modifications include reducing caloric intake, as weight loss diminishes fatty liver. A diet high in complex carbohydrates, low in red meat and high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, seems to help patients with diabetes and liver problems manage both conditions.
While complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, lentils, brown rice, oatmeal and high-fiber bran cereals, are recommended for patients with diabetes and liver problems, it is important to keep the portions of these types of foods low to avoid spiking blood sugar levels. Eating too many carbohydrates will also lead to a glut in caloric intake and weight gain, which can exacerbate liver problems.
Protein and Fat
As a rule patients with diabetes and liver problems should keep their protein intake low, because a damaged liver will have difficulty processing protein, according to MedlinePlus. A moderate to high intake of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado, canola oil and almonds, works well for diabetics with liver problems. Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish, such as such as herring, salmon and mackerel, are also beneficial.
Alcohol and Salt
Diabetics with liver problems should avoid alcohol altogether, as alcohol combined with high blood sugar can further damage the liver, according to Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D. of MayoClinic.com. Too much alcohol also adds excessive calories, which will interfere with weight loss. A low salt intake is also recommended, because excessive salt can cause the liver to swell and encourage fluid buildup in the diseased organ.
Is This an Emergency?
- "Diabetes Care"; Spectrum of Liver Disease in Type 2 Diabetes and Management of Patients With Diabetes and Liver Disease; Keith G. Tolman, et al.; March 2007
- MedlinePlus: Diet -- Liver Disease
- MayoClinic.com; Diabetes: How Does it Affect My Liver?; Maria Collazo-Clavell; October 2009
- CTV News; Diabetes Linked to Raised Risk of Liver Disease; June 2010