Category Archives: Healthy Food

Categories Healthy Food

Diet Habits Affecting The Liver

The liver’s main job is to detoxify and metabolize whatever comes into your body. This includes all the soda, cake, alcohol and medicine you are putting in your body, causing your liver to work extra to make toxins less harmful and remove them from the bloodstream. What you are consuming is impacting your liver and causing a health crisis that most people don’t even know they have. It’s called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and it affects about a quarter of the American population. While having some fat on your liver is normal, too much can become a serious health problem. Obesity, high blood sugar and insulin resistance can all be factors that play a role in NAFLD. This disease has very few symptoms so most people don’t know they have it until after a comprehensive blood panel where their liver enzymes were up causing their hemoglobin A1C to also be up. The foods that our society eats regularly are those that negatively impact our liver the most. 

  1. Sugar and Sweet Beverages
    • Lots of sugar is a major contributor to excess fat on the liver
    • Sugary drinks contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup that are more commonly stored as fat on the liver rather than used by the body for energy
    • Common “healthy” foods like yogurt and bottled smoothies have tons of added sugar so reading the nutrition label is very important when choosing what to buy at the grocery store
  2. Refined Carbohydrates
    • Refined white flour is devoid of fiber and has added sugar; common foods we eat with refined white flour are cookies, bagels, doughnuts, pastries, white bread, pizza dough, crackers, white rice, pasta
    • These foods will raise your blood sugar, leading to insulin resistance which is believed to be the key cause of fat infiltrating the liver
  3. Processed Foods
    • Almost anything you find in the middle of the grocery store is highly processed food. If it comes in a box, bag or can like potato chips, soups and frozen dinners it is a processed food
    • These foods typically have refined carbs, added sugar and are loaded with excess salt
    • Studies show that high sodium diets can lead to liver damage and fibrosis
  4. Foods High in Saturated Fats
    • Red meats, fried food, whole milk and cheese are all high in saturated fat 
    • Saturated fat has been linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
    • Compared to foods with polyunsaturated fats, saturated fat increased triglyceride droplets in the liver leading to boosted liver fat content
  5. Alcohol
    • Heavy drinking can lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease but even moderate alcohol consumption can cause fat accumulation in the liver
    • If you already have NAFLD, it is recommended you stay away from alcohol completely 

Good liver health comes from reducing toxins like alcohol, preservatives found in processed foods, sugars, refined carbs and saturated fats in your diet. This lifestyle change will not only prevent the silent disease of NAFLD but it will also be beneficial when it comes to weight loss. If you lose just 10% of your current body weight, you have an increased chance that liver fat will be reduced. This disease can cause irreversible damage to your liver known as cirrhosis, which is severe liver scarring. Cirrhosis increases your risk of liver cancer and liver failure so it is important to stop the damage to your liver before it becomes irreversible. Changing your diet habits is a crucial step when trying to reverse NAFLD. For the best outcome, it’s important to follow a doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Contact us if you have any further questions about this lifestyle change. 

Categories Healthy Food

Unhealthy Ingredients Not To Eat

Being able to read a nutrition facts label is a great first step in taking control over your own health. Even if something is labeled as healthy, it could contain an ingredient that in reality is actually very unhealthy for you. Unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients and unnecessary preservatives are hazardous to your health and unfortunately a lot of the foods that are hard to resist like sweet treats and comfort foods are loaded with these things. The ability to recognize ingredients like the ones listed below on a nutrition facts label will help you make healthier choices and find alternative foods that do not contain these very unhealthy ingredients. Some of these ingredients are known to cause weight gain, increased body fat, raise glucose levels and be carcinogenic. 

  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Advanced Glycation End (AGEs) (inflammatory oils)
  • Alkali processed cocoa
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Arsenic
  • Artificial colors/flavors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Aspartame
  • Azodicarbonamide (bleaching chemical)
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Canola oil
  • Calcium chloride
  • Caramel coloring
  • Carnauba wax
  • Carrageenan
  • Cottonseed oil/partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
  • Corn syrup
  • Diglycerides
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Fiber-less fruit
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • High heat (charred foods)
  • Lard/hydrogenated lard
  • L-Cysteine hydrochloride
  • Maltitol
  • Margarine
  • Monoglycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Nitrates/Nitrites
  • Palm oil
  • Phthalates 
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Potassium bromate (bromated flour)
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Preservatives
  • Propylene glycol
  • Red #40
  • Refined carbs
  • Refined white flour
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sodium nitrite
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP)
  • Sorbitol
  • Soybean oil/Hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Sucrose
  • Sucralose
  • Sugar/added sugar
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Sulfites 
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Vegetable oil/hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Yellow 5/Yellow 6

Some common foods you might not realize contain ingredients from this list are coffee cream, instant oatmeal packets, “light” butter substitutes and salad dressing. All of these items have soybean oil in them which can cause chronic inflammation, increased body fat and fatty liver. Not all oil is bad though, finding foods and using oils like avocado, coconut, and olive can actually be a good source of healthy fat in your diet. Another common category that most people would assume to be healthy but is not are bottled smoothies and fruit juices. Both of these contain now fiber-less fruit after blending and juicing, which makes them fall short on nutritional value. They also almost always have a lot of added sugar, sometimes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup or fructose. This can cause the juices and smoothies to have more sugar in a serving than a donut. Even if something is labeled diet or low fat, you can not assume it has all healthy ingredients in it. Take for example diet ice cream, it contains polysorbate 80. This is a preservative that can cause inflammation in the intestines. Another food that contains the same preservative is pickles, specifically the popular brand Vlasic. Reduced fat peanut butter seems to be healthier by the name of it but really the ingredient list goes on forever and contains added sugars, sodium and preservatives. You’re actually better off just getting full fat natural peanut butter with a short ingredient list, this way the additives are kept down to a minimum. 

Recognizing unhealthy ingredients on a nutrition facts label is a great start in taking control of your eating habits. Finding healthier alternatives to some of the common foods you buy that contain unhealthy ingredients will help you achieve an overall better lifestyle. If you need help educating yourself on nutrition facts labels and how to make better diet choices, please contact us.