Have You Been Told You Have A Fatty Liver?

August 5, 2023

 If you or someone you love has fatty liver concerns, this show is for you! Listen in as two registered dietitians discuss a fatty liver diagnosis and how nutrition can hinder or support your liver. Walk away with some things you can do proactively to support your organs and your body’s functions with real food.

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LEAH: Good morning and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness, a company that provides both classes and individual nutrition consultations to help people overcome a variety of health concerns. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and in studio with me this morning is Teresa Wagner, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian.

And both Teresa and I have worked with a wide variety of clients who have a wide variety of health concerns. And this ranges from diabetes, and this could be even within diabetes there's a lot of range. We work with clients who have type one diabetes, type two diabetes, even gestational diabetes. We've worked with clients who have all different types of cancers. We work with clients who have high blood pressure and of course we work with lots of clients who have digestive issues and that could run the gamut from acid reflux to constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating. The list goes on there.

We help clients who have autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, like celiac disease, like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. We work with clients who have binge eating disorder and we work with a lot of clients who struggle with different mental health issues. This most typically depression and anxiety. But I know I've seen clients who have bipolar and schizophrenia as well. We also have a very effective program to help people lose weight in a healthy way.

So today our show is about a very specific condition that actually I didn't even list in this last minute or so that I've been talking, but it commonly co-occurs with many of these issues. So today our show is called “Have You Been Told You Have a Fatty Liver”? So in the show today, we're going to answer, we're going to hit on a lot of different questions that people may have about fatty liver.

So first of all, what is fatty liver? How common is it to have a fatty liver? What is the common cause? Or I actually, I would say more causes of having fatty liver. What are some of the symptoms that we're looking out for? Is cirrhosis of the liver the same as having fatty liver? And most importantly I think is what can we do about it if we know that it's there or there's a suspicion that it's there, what can we do from a nutrition perspective to help our situation?

What is fatty liver?

So let's start to unpack these questions a little bit, starting with what is fatty liver and and why do we care if our liver is carrying a little extra fat around? So fatty liver is a disease where there is a buildup of fat in the liver. And what happens is that fat starts to replace healthy liver tissue. And when that starts to happen, when we start to get more and more of that fat buildup, the liver's function starts to slow down. And there's even some aspects of it that may stop working altogether. And then that begs the question like, let's take a break.

What is the function of the liver?

What does the liver do for us? The liver has over 500 vital functions in our body. And so I'll highlight a couple of them, but just know that there's so many things that the liver does for us. One big thing is it produces bile. And bile, I know I think about it as an aid to digest our good healthy fats that we're eating, but bile is actually one way that our liver gets rid of toxins that it's kind of dealt with. So it, it secretes those toxins in the bile. It gets dumped into the digestive tract, and then we eliminate on the other end.

Our liver helps us make cholesterol. It helps us balance our blood sugar and helps us make glucose when we need it. It stores iron. It converts toxins or toxic substances into more usable or into things that need to be eliminated from the body. So it helps us kind of clear our systems out and on and on and on. It does so many things for us. So when the liver function starts to slow down or again, some of these things start to not work as well, we can start to feel it and we'll, we'll talk about that in just a moment.

If we allow that fatty liver to progress, so say now we're years or even decades down into having fatty liver, this is where the liver can start to scar over. We get this really rough fibrous tissue in the liver and that's when we start talking about cirrhosis of the liver. And cirrhosis is not only caused by alcohol abuse. I think again, a lot of people think like we, if we drink too much, that's the only thing that really damages our liver. But that's not the only thing. It is sugar and processed carbs as well.

Sugar and processed carbs can cause liver damage

So we have alcohol abuse, but we can also have sugar and processed carb abuse. And if you think about what causes a person to gain weight or become obese, it does tend to go back a lot of times to the sugars. And especially when we think about high fructose corn syrup, one of those really damaging types of sugars and where do we find those types of things, that is usually in more of those processed types of foods in the sugary drinks that we may be consuming. So the liver also gets fat from sugar, from highly processed carbs and from alcohol. So think eating a diet of pizza and beer can easily lead to a fatty liver, kind of that lethal combo.

TERESA: You're not trying to make any friends here, Leah, are you?

Main risk factors for fatty liver disease: obesity and type two diabetes

LEAH: That's not my goal this morning, Teresa. I'm here to deliver some great information. So the, so the NIH, so here's the NIH saying this, not me, but the NIH, the National Institute of Health, reported that people with obesity and type two diabetes are more at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver. And studies suggest that one third, maybe two thirds of people with type two diabetes have some of this fatty liver disease. Research also suggests that non-alcoholic liver disease is present in 75% of people who are overweight and 90% of people who have severe obesity. So again, like this is a very common thing, even if not everybody necessarily knows about it.

And one thing that we can actually look at is if we are, if our blood sugars are starting to kind of rise into that pre-diabetic range and and what is that range? If you've ever had a fasting glucose done before at your doctor's office or if you've ever tested your fasting blood sugar at home, this is where that fasting glucose number is getting up around a hundred to 125. So again, like you're in triple digits or if you've had that hemoglobin A1C test. So it's, it's a bigger picture, more of an overall picture of your blood sugar. The hemoglobin A1C, if it's in the 5.7 to 6.4 range, we're also looking at pre-diabetes and a greater risk or or a greater likelihood that you have some fatty liver.

TERESA: Yeah, absolutely. And that was a really great explanation of what the liver does. It's such an important organ. And if we don't have a liver, we die. Right?

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: I mean it's crucial for our survival.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely.

Fatty liver disease can only be reversed with proper nutrition

TERESA: So it's really important that if we know that there's something going on with the liver, that we take care of it. And to reverse or heal fatty liver disease, it's necessary for you to change your food and drink choices. If you've been told you have a fatty liver, I'm sure your doctor has told you that it is a serious health condition. Currently there is no medication that will correct or reverse the damage that has occurred in your liver. Fatty liver disease can only be reversed with nutrition. It all goes back to what you are eating and drinking.

And as dietitians, this is our specialty. We set up healing plans, eating plans for you, and provide the support that clients need to stay on a plan to reverse a fatty liver. And with conditions that require significant changes in the diet, having consistent and regular support is often needed for my clients to make the lasting changes needed to heal a condition like this. So I usually recommend meeting every three to four weeks. I find that sometimes a month is too long to stay motivated.

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LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: Do you find that too?

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely.

TERESA: Mm-Hmm. And many times my clients will say, or people will say in general, I know what to do, I just don't do it. Why can't I get myself to do that?

LEAH: If we had a nickel for every time.

TERESA: Yeah. Right. And we understand it's hard to change habits. I mean, we have our habits because they serve us for some reason. So it's hard to change those things. And that's one of the reasons why we developed our Ongoing Support and Education sessions that meet once a week because it's really helpful to have that ongoing support, that continuous touchpoint with people who are like-minded.

LEAH: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

TERESA: And you can, you know, these classes, we offer them Zoom so you don't have to be local to be a part of the support group or if you are local, you can come in person as well. This group is a support group with a facilitator to answer questions, but some of the best support comes from other class members. They also add suggestions in how they're able to make changes to their nutrition.

LEAH: Yeah. I a hundred percent agree with that, that it's not so much us leading the group or, or facilitating. I think that comradery is such a huge part of, of those sessions.

Sign up for Ongoing Support and Education

So we will continue our conversation about fatty liver on the other side of break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you are a new listener, you may not know that this coming fall we have been on the air for the past 20 years talking nutrition. We have researched and shared many different health topics and today we want to share with you how you can use food and nutrition to reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Stay tuned because 90% of people with type two diabetes are struggling with a fatty liver. And we'll be right back.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There are two main risk factors for fatty liver disease: obesity and type two diabetes. Are you experiencing either? I encourage you to sign up for our Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation series if that's the case for you. This class starts the week of September 11th. We have these classes available to you either in person or you can join us through a Zoom format.

Another risk factor, which may seem unrelated, is not getting a good night's sleep. So in the Nutrition for Weight loss classes, we give you food and supplement ideas on getting better sleep. You can sign up online at weightandwellness.com or call 651-699-3438 and we're happy to answer all your questions.

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Non-alcoholic liver disease is associated with increased risk of several cancers

And before break, we were discussing the common and serious condition, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a condition that the only and best treatment is to change eating and drinking habits. And one of the reasons why this is so important is because the disease, it's important to reverse this disease is because liver cancer can be an issue if we let it go on. Non-Alcoholic liver disease is associated with an increased risk of several cancers including liver cancer.

And there was a recent study in Cell Metabolism that has shown that fatty liver disease creates the perfect environment for metastatic colorectal cancer to thrive in the liver. This is very serious because when cancer metastasizes, so when it moves from one organ or place to another it becomes very difficult to treat. And so with fatty liver disease, it sets up this perfect environment for the, the cancer that might be in the colon to move over into the liver.

LEAH: Yeah. And I know we were talking about that before break and I just thought that was fascinating. But then the more you think about it, it's like that kind of makes sense when you have, 'cause like I mentioned before, when you have that fatty liver, it's not working as well and then it's excreting toxins and like other things through the bile then into the rest of the digestive tract. Well then it does make sense that everything downstream in the intestinal tract will take that hit and that it just promotes potentially a cancer growing environment at that point.

Reduce sugar in beverage choices

TERESA: Yeah. Yeah. So it's really important to take care of, take care of this if you have any indication that that's something that's an issue for you. Currently at least one third of the population has a fatty liver. Today even 10% of children have a fatty liver. So why could kids be developing a fatty liver? They're certainly not drinking alcohol. Right? But it could be that they're drinking soda or juice or sports drinks or the energy drinks or high sugar coffee drinks. Which actually most of the drinks that kids are having at coffee shops are not coffee. I mean, some of them might be, but there are just these sugary drinks, you know, I would classify same as similar to soda, just different flavors.

LEAH: There might be a hint or a whiff of coffee and they're somewhere, but mostly sugar.

TERESA: But A lot of them, there's none. There's no coffee. But in any case, kids are definitely drinking them every time I go to go to the coffee shops 'cause I do go there. I see kids and they're, and they're having something there too. Yep. So it's important that our kids are drinking mostly water. That's the most important thing for them to be drinking.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And I know parents, it's a pain to be constantly washing and filling water bottles for your kids. And as much as I dislike that job of water bottle washing with the straw, the top.

LEAH: With all the little parts.

TERESA: Yep. I'm glad that my kids are drinking water rather than sugar sweetened beverages. And it's funny because you know, right now there are certain water bottles that are more trendy than others. And my 12-year-old, she got one of the Stanley, you know, the giant, you know, water bottles with the handle and the straw.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And she drank like four or six of those.

LEAH: Oh my gosh.

TERESA: Like the first day she got it. So it really did like having the right water bottle can really, I mean 'cause it's that age right where they want to fit in and have the the cool things. And so it just kind of feeds into that. So, as long as we're putting water in that water bottle, it, it, that can be a great way to promote drinking water.

LEAH: Yeah. It's a, it lays that great foundation. So yeah, absolutely. And yes, water, first beverage of choice.

Symptoms of fatty liver

Let's roll into what are some symptoms of fatty liver? So we've, we've talked a little bit about this now, but like what are, what are we looking for? What, what might be going through your head of like, okay, how do I know if I have fatty liver? One of the tricky things is, especially early on in fatty liver, there may be no symptoms. And as I was doing some reading and preparing for the show, one thing that was mentioned is that oftentimes, again, when someone's not really having symptoms or, or you're just having some vague symptoms like I'm a little more tired or, or my blood sugars are just kind of a little wonky or, or I have some brain fog.

TERESA: Things that you can attribute to something else.

LEAH: Yeah. Absolutely. And what may happen is while the doctor, the physician is investigating for other things, we might catch that fatty liver. So you might be doing some blood work and some liver function tests come back elevated. Or you might be doing an ultrasound in your abdomen looking at something else and then find out, oh, like there's like that liver looks a little big or looks abnormal. So that can be one tricky thing is that there may not be any symptoms to begin with.

Or again, some people may kind have some memory issues because you're overeating sugar and processed carbs. You're getting a blood sugar roller coaster throughout your day. But then, like we mentioned before, if your liver is not functioning well, it's probably not detoxing a lot of things really well. And this could be the chemicals that are in your food. This could be chemicals that we come across in our environment. These things are not getting detoxed and fatty liver shuts down those detox pathways.

So that sugar, the processed carbs, the alcohol, these things create fatty liver and then create some of the symptoms that go along with this. So some of that memory loss, some of that brain fog. Some people lose their appetite or maybe they just even have this general feeling of feeling toxic of just like, I just don't know what's wrong, but I feel like I'm not able to kind of clear things efficiently or I just kind of feel like there's a load on my body that I can't get off. Other people may have extreme fatigue. Some other people may have, especially as that liver gets bigger, more ongoing pain in the upper right abdominal area. And some people may experience edema, swelling in the legs or swelling in other extremities as well.

So lots of things could be happening and that's where like if you think you have something going on, talk to your doctor. Start maybe running some tests and getting an idea of, of what's going on here. So we're already at our second break. We will continue talking about fatty liver in just a few minutes. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness.

In the past 20 years, we are yet to have a show and podcast on lymphedema, but in September we will put our thoughts and recommendations about food and supplements that has helped women with lymphedema. And lymphedema in general is just fluid buildup in usually in the arms or legs because that lymph fluid is not circulating properly. If you have a topic you would like us to cover, please email or call us and we'll put it on the list. Email us at email@weightandwellness.com or call us at (651) 699-3438 and we'll be right back.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Do you need some new ideas for dinner? We have a cooking class that you can tune in and watch by Zoom every month. Coming up on September 20th, Marianne is getting ready for fall eating. She'll be teaching us how to roast, braise and sauté meat. Sign up online at weightandwellness.com or call us at (651) 699-3438. The cost is only $25. And you will learn many other tips and tricks that only a well-versed chef knows. Marianne is a great teacher and chef and her classes are very fun to attend.

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LEAH: And I can't believe we're thinking about fall already.

TERESA: I know.

LEAH: At least here in the Twin Cities, it's going to be 80 something today. But the other day I was wandering through one of the stores and saw Halloween stuff, so…

TERESA: I did too.

LEAH: Marianne must be right on that trend. She's, she's ready. Yeah, she's on it. And ready, ready to kind of deal with the fall menu.

TERESA: Well, getting back to our topic of fatty liver, we were talking about some of the symptoms that you can have with fatty liver. And one thing to, just to note, and Leah had alluded to this earlier, fatty liver, this condition does not happen overnight. It is a slow process. So you have time, right? This, that's, that's good news. We have time to reverse this. More people who are overweight and obese have fatty livers than thin people, but it can happen to either. So it's not a guarantee if you are of a healthy weight that you don't necessarily have fatty liver.

Again, you want to change your diet so that you can reverse a fatty liver before you have scarring of the liver or what is called cirrhosis of the liver. And cirrhosis is a very serious condition and it's permanent. So this one can't be reversed.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: With cirrhosis, healthy liver tissue is gradually replaced with scar tissue, with when the liver is inflamed from having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, it attempts to repair itself with the scarring. The scar tissue then prevents the liver from working properly and you get, start getting some of those symptoms that Leah was talking about. Symptoms of cirrhosis can have a really negative impact on the quality of life. You may have itchy skin with no visible like rash or showing. So just think how annoying or how interrupting to life that would be, just this itching that's happening.

Your skin or, and the whites of your eyes can turn yellow. You may have digestive difficulties, especially with digesting fats. You can become confused, disoriented, or have mood changes. You may develop twitching, tremors, or just general lapses in the ability of for your muscles to stay in control. So it's, it's very serious. So it's really in our best interest to make changes in our food and beverage choices as soon as we have any indication of fatty liver. And the diet that's typically recommended by many experts is the Mediterranean diet.

Food tips to prevent or reverse fatty liver

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. That's a, a well-known term and a catchy term out there. So what is the Mediterranean diet? It is very similar to our Weight and Wellness eating plan. So the Mediterranean diet recommends lots of plant foods, which basically means lots of vegetables, you know, vegetables with your eggs for breakfast and a natural fat. So think butter, olive oil or avocado oil, you know, we will absorb nutrients from those vegetables a little bit easier and makes those vegetables taste good. So we're always pairing good fats with our plant foods, with those vegetables.

We want to really be on the watch out for more harmful fats. And again, the, this is one thing that we're thinking about here is how can we, if we know we have a fatty liver, how can we reduce the burden on that liver and try to show it some love right now? So one way that we do that is being very choosy about the types of fats that we are going after. So we have to be our own detectives and watch out for the fats that are more harmful.

So this is the soybean oils, this is the cottonseed oils, the canola oils, avoiding margarine and like I said, choose butter instead of the margarine. So we want those vegetables or the plant foods morning, noon, and night. The Mediterranean diet also recommends eating fish at least twice a week. I know I have my fair share of clients that love fish and a fair share that won't touch it with a 10-foot pole. So, so take this as it is for those fish lovers out there. If you love that fish, have salmon or walleye or halibut or cod or tilapia for dinner or for lunch and do that with some more vegetables. Do that, you know, at least twice a week. If you love fish maybe three times a week.

Pair it with those vegetables like a couple cups of broccoli. Maybe you do throw a piece of fruit on the side with that. And then use olive oil dressing or, or dress that broccoli with some olive oil and some good seasonings on there. Maybe you want to do fish over a big salad with the, a wide variety of raw vegetables and then use an olive oil based dressing or an avocado oil based dressing. Maybe you love avocados or you want that little bit of crunch and so you throw some couple different kinds of nuts and seeds on that salad. Lots of different ways to incorporate, again, those good fats, but also make sure that you're hitting that vegetable quota every day.

TERESA: Yeah. And I, I if, if people are noticing the types of fats, which maybe they're not, but these, these types of fats are the monounsaturated fats that are, that are recommended on the Mediterranean diet. So we love those fats as well. Remember having a fatty liver is a very serious condition as we've been talking about. So a very strong commitment to following an eating plan to reverse your fatty liver is necessary. So no pasta will be on your plate, but a half a cup of wild rice would be a good option. Pizza's not a good option because pizza's too high in carbohydrates that break down into sugar, and it, you typically, they have unhealthy fats.

Grilled or baked salmon or chicken with a variety of vegetables works well though. We want to eliminate alcohol, beer, wine, because this is not the time to be adding stress to an already stressed or inflamed liver. So substitute with some good herbal tea maybe. We have an article on our website that has some ideas for some mocktails or non-alcoholic cocktail like that are really delicious too.

LEAH: Yeah. Kristy wrote a great article with lots of great options; things I never would've thought of, honestly. So I'm really happy I have a resource to send to my clients and be like, here, go, go read this. Pick the one that's the most appealing for you and just give it a try. And exactly like you said, Teresa, it's, this is not the time where you want to add more burden and add more stress to that liver with alcohol and with like these substances that your alcohol or that your liver really has to try to deal with then.

And when you make an appointment with a Nutritional Weight and Wellness nutritionist, we sit down, that first consultation is 90 minutes. So we dive deep. We have a lot of time to talk and we make sure that when you leave you have an eating plan. You have an eating plan based on foods that you like or that you're willing to eat or willing to try. And we kind of lay out like, okay, what is, what is the pattern of your day look like? What does your schedule look like? This is the time. Like here's what, where we're aiming for for your meals. Where might we insert some snacks in the mix?

So we really kind of get into that nitty gritty and lay a plan out because I think that's what helps people kind of conceptualize, visualize, and are actually able to follow through for those couple of weeks before we see them again. When you have a more exact plan, then you, there's less guesswork or you have, there's less figuring out that you have to do on your own.

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TERESA: Right. And that's a specific plan that you can go and do versus something more abstract. Like just eat a Mediterranean style diet, which is usually the recommendation you get from your doctor, which is absolutely okay. I think that that's okay. It’s really not their job to sit down with you and write out a meal plan. That's what we do.

LEAH: Yeah, exactly. And as a nice side benefit, most clients lose weight on this type of eating plan. When we eat real whole foods, incorporate good healthy fats, get most of our carbohydrates from vegetables, maybe a little bit of fruit in there and we have some good protein sources, our clients tend to lose that body fat. Or I'll say to my clients like, we're losing the fluff on the top and, but we don't want to sacrifice that muscle mass that's underneath. So we keep that lean tissue good and healthy and we keep our muscle mass on us, but we want to lose the fluff that's on top.

And I always, you know, sometimes I have clients that schedule with me 'cause you kind of clients can schedule on their own through our website and then we get to talking about insurance and I always, I try to make sure I ask them like, okay, what kind of health insurance do you have? And if it's a plan that we work with, I encourage them like, hey, let's do some investigation into this because your consultation may be covered and they might not have even thought about that before.

TERESA: Yeah. It's such a nice benefit to have.

LEAH: Yeah. So helpful.

Mindfulness of hidden sugars

TERESA: It's very important to take steps right now to prevent getting a fatty liver or if you've already been told you have a fatty liver to reverse the condition. When I'm working with clients, I teach them about the hidden sugars in foods. You may be grabbing and eating mindlessly. I mean this happens a lot. Just a handful of this, a handful of that. And it doesn't seem like very much, but I'll show them that a handful of say, M&Ms, may deliver eight teaspoons of sugar into the bloodstream. One small package of M&Ms has over 30 grams of sugar. And for good heart health, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar for the whole day. So this one little package of M&Ms sets you over the day's limit. To make changes, we need to be aware of how much sugar we're actually eating.

LEAH: Yeah. Yep. Absolutely. And that awareness for some people writing it down or like putting it into an app, just that, not something that you have to do forever, but bringing that awareness initially of where you're at and what choices you're making can really make, can really be eye-opening like you said, or really can make a big difference in how you kind of move forward and how you approach things.

And I wanted to make just one example kind of along the lines of, of added sugars and stuff like this. We were talking a little bit about this on break, but, so right now, again, for most of us here in North America, it's still summer out. So it's grilling season, barbecue season and stuff like that. Well, I picked up an or I made a mistake going to the grocery store. I picked up an organic barbecue sauce but did not turn over and look at the nutrition facts panel or look at the ingredients, anything like that. I thought, oh great; organic, organic barbecue sauce and got home and we used it in a meal for something. I was like, gosh, this is really sweet. Like much sweeter than I would normally have have picked out. And I turned over the label and there were 14 grams of added sugar in two tablespoons of barbecue sauce. So you do the math on that, that's what; 3 1/2 and teaspoons of sugar.

TERESA: For those of you, the math on that is you just take that total carbohydrate and divide it by four.

LEAH: Yep. Yep.

TERESA: And that'll tell you how many teaspoons is in there.

LEAH: Yeah. And I was shocked and mad at myself that I bought this whole container of barbecue sauce. And again, like it's two tablespoons also, 'cause you think about that serving size and how easy is it to have kind of a heavy pour with barbecue sauce sometimes to get that flavor. And so I was like, man, that's, and that's just one area of where, where could we look at those sugars coming in? Like could it be in the sauces? Can it be in the dressings that we're putting on our food? Not necessarily in the food itself, but what we're adding to it in that sense. So that was, that was a reminder to me to make sure before I, before I stray from my usual choices that I'm looking at food labels and looking at ingredients lists and stuff like that.

So we do have to take our last break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. To eat real food, it is helpful to be able to cook simple and good recipes. We have just the cookbook for you and it is called the Weight and Wellness Cookbook and Nutrition Guide. You will find easy to follow recipes with real food ingredients, a beautiful cover and informational pieces that cover a whole host of topics like additives to avoid or just some ideas maybe for special healthy treats for the kids.

My favorite recipe this summer has been the Sonoma Chicken Salad recipe. And honestly, that's a favorite year-round, not just during the summer, but I might vary the ingredients a little bit just based on what's in season, like using blueberries instead of the grapes in that particular recipe. You can order it online at weightandwellness.com or call us and order it at 651-699-3438 and we'll be right back.

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TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. First of all, we want to thank you for listening to either our live radio show or to our podcast. In addition to providing nutrition counseling, we also teach many nutrition classes. A service we are excited about are our classes that we teach either in person or on Zoom to businesses. We pride ourselves in delivering usable information in a fun and engaging manner. Truly, nutrition can be exciting and not boring, and we really do work to try to make those classes fun.

We can even teach cooking classes to you for your wellness activities at your, at your office or at your business. A very well received class has been Cooking Brain Healthy Foods. To learn more about any of our corporate classes, email Helen. She is our person that coordinates all of these classes and her email address is helen@weightandwellness.com or call us at (651) 699-3438.

Learn more about workplace wellness classes & counseling

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. I love that little segment. I love teaching corporate classes. It's because I think a lot of, actually a lot of people, this is new messaging for them too. So to have kind of that fresh and new audience and, and just to a come at it approaching nutrition from a different way than people have heard before. I just, I love that kind of environment. And you're right, it's a, it's typically for people in the office, like it's a lunch and learn type of thing or again, like we're usually doing it over the lunch hour and people are learning in that sense.

And I've had clients who I've met one-on-one with and they, they are in the HR department or they are, they kind of have that say or maybe they're on the wellness committee at their, at their job. And they've made those pitches and tried to bring Nutritional Weight and Wellness into the workplace. So any way that we can spread that message is, is just so helpful and so great.

TERESA: Yeah, it's a lot of fun teaching those classes and the questions we get are great.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, same. I love that. So yeah, so bridging from corporate classes into fatty liver. Back to our topic today. So when we're, you know, Teresa, I know you've met with a lot of clients who have had fatty liver before and I know when I am working with a client one-on-one and we know that fatty liver is kind of a part of their health profile, I definitely make it a point to sit down and, and help that client decipher, like we have to sit down and decipher what are the good fats and what are the more harmful fats that we're trying to avoid.

Beneficial fats vs. harmful fats

So we really have to delineate and, and like I mentioned before, kind of be that detective for what kinds of fats and oils we're bringing into our bodies. The kinds of fats that we're aiming for are, are natural fats. These are things like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, and a variety of different kinds of nuts and seeds. And ideally these nuts and seeds are either raw or they're dry roasted. It's fine if they have some salt on them. It's fine if they have a little flavor to them. But what we're really trying to avoid with the nuts and the seeds is: are the roasted seeds that are roasted in some kind of oil. Usually you'll see peanut oil is a common one or sometimes you'll see that canola oil pop up in there.

TERESA: Cottonseed oil.

LEAH: Cottonseed oil is a big one too. Yep. So we're really trying to stay away from, so again, you have to read those ingredients labels. It might not be the first one or two ingredients. It might be down that line further down. But we're looking for those refined oils like soybean oil, corn oil. There might even be that umbrella term of vegetable oils, which means, I mean, it could be a mixture of all those different kinds of oils in there. So we really have to read the label of any kind of foods that are going to put that on there, that are those more processed foods that have an ingredients label. And so then you're in the grocery store and you're looking at that label and you're kind of, again, kind of going back and forth in your head, okay, is this a good oil? Is this not such a good oil?

If it's, if you're kind of on the fence or if you're not sure the safer bet is to probably put it back and to look for something that, you know, is more in that safer category; something that uses avocado oil or olive oil instead.

Keep unhealthy, tempting foods out of the house

You know, and it's difficult to avoid chips. So let's just pick on chips for a moment. It's difficult to avoid the chips if they are in the house because then every day, probably several times a day, you have to make the decision to not eat the chips. If you leave them at the grocery store, you only need to make that decision once or once a week, 'cause again, most people are going to the grocery store at least once a week.

But having to make that decision once a week is you're going to be able to kind of make a more informed and, and more what's the word I'm looking for? Like I'm blanking. Just a better decision once, once a week versus if you have to try to do it, say at night, 8:00 PM everyone's like kind of going to bed. You're staying up and you're trying to make that good decision when you're tired, when you're stressed, when you're just trying to wind down for the night.

TERESA: Right. Those are very vulnerable hours.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: Those are very, those are hours where our logic gets a little funny where it's we start negotiating in our minds, right?

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: Like, I can do this right now because tomorrow I'll do something to, or I'll make up for it in some way. And you have sort of these mental gymnastics that go on that time because you really want to have the chips. Right? And so you want to figure out a way to justify being able to have them.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And so, like you said, don't buy them. You only have to make that decision that one time.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Protect your environment. Only keep things in your house that you want yourself to eat. You know, it's obviously we want to eat some of those foods, but the foods that you're desiring that you would, your future self would've eaten. You know?

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. So yes, make the decision once because this is what I think about is these chips are designed to make you want to eat them.

TERESA: Yeah. There's little foods, not little, there's food scientists.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: In their, you know, scheming. I always feel like, you know, their recipes are like, they're scheming.

LEAH: They're cooking up something in, in the back room, in the lab or something.

TERESA: Yeah. How can we get these people to not be able to stop eating?

LEAH: Yeah. Yep. Exactly. And that's the thing. That's the point is like you might first, there are some people out there that can have one or two chips and be just fine and kind of get that fix. But there are people out there and I'd say this is more common with the people we work with as it's hard to stop until the bag is done.

More on the treatment for fatty liver disease: eat real food

TERESA: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, in this day and age where there is a pill for every ill, you may not realize that there is still no drug treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The only effective treatment is to change your diet and lifestyle habits. Eat real food like we've been talking about today. Proteins, healthy fats; vegetable carbohydrates are the best carbohydrates. But you can have fruits. There are some grains that are great, you know, beans and lentils, all of these real whole foods; foods that look like or very similar to how they were on the farm.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: We want to avoid the processed foods. We want to cook and eat the Weight and Wellness way and we need to move our body. The nutritional treatment plan should focus on foods to support blood glucose control or blood sugar control. And that's just having a balance of those real foods, having protein and fat, lots of vegetables and just a little bit of those more concentrated carbohydrates like the potatoes or fruit or quinoa or rice, those types of foods. Having less of those, not that we eliminate, eliminate them completely. But just have less of those.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: We want to avoid those damage and refined fats as Leah was talking about. Also, the nutritional therapy plan could include blood sugar management, like we were talking about here. A balance in the protein, fats and carbs, plus cholesterol and triglyceride management. Changes to diet takes time and commitment. So we are here to help you through that.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yes. And that has been our goal at Nutritional Weight and, and Wellness and on Dishing Up Nutrition for the last 20 years, is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful life changing message that eating real food really is life changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a wonderful morning.

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