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Binge-eating, viral loads: How pandemic is damaging liver | Chennai News – Times of India

CHENNAI: The liver damage that results from overeating and lack of exercise is just as bad as that caused by excessive alcohol consumption, says Dr Dinesh Jothimani, director, Hepatology & Medical Gastroenterology, Rela Hospital.
“Between 2009 and 2019, the cases of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or non-alcoholic fatty liver have increased by more than 200% in those referred to the Institute of Liver Disease and Transplantation, which I oversee,” he says.
Since the start of the pandemic, the liver transplant specialist has been seeing more people with fatty liver, possibly because of the weight gain and sedentary lifestyles. His report published in 2020 in the Journal of Hepatology, states that in the current pandemic, hepatic dysfunction has been seen in 14–53% of patients with Covid-19, particularly in those with severe disease.
“Hepatic involvement in Covid-19 could be related to the direct effect of the virus, an uncontrolled immune reaction, sepsis or drug-induced liver injury,” he says.
Nutritionist Shiny Surendran says NASH is prevalent in the Indian population because of the high carbohydrate low protein diet. “But if detected early, a good diet and exercise regimen can help those with fatty liver get back on track,” she says.
Shiny explains that as a population we have insulin resistance or as nutritionists call it, carb intolerance. “This is what results in increased waist sizes. Carbohydrates are not just in the rices, idlis and dosas. They are present in grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and every dessert you consume. Switch to millets, Bengal gram-based dishes, sprout salads, and add a few eggs to a meal,” she says.
The fructose in fruits, adds Shiny, contributes to fatty liver and heightened triglyceride levels. “So replace some of the fruit with vegetables. ”
The bottomline is to stop with the excuses that you cannot exercise.



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