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Diet and Nutrition

What is correct diet if suffer NAFLD?

04/20/2009

Question:

You need to increase the number of characters for the title of the question. I suffer from NAFLD (as well as hypercholesteral, hypertriglycerides, hypertension, and severe chronic vascular migraine headaches). I`m trying to alter my diet as much as possible to help with my NAFLD. What would be a good choice of things to eat as part of my diet and what would be a good choice of things to stay away from? How many grams of fat would be considered too much for my daily intake? What about calories? How do I know how many calories I`m getting? For example, how many calories in a teaspoon of refined sugar (which I put on strawberries when I eat strawberries, because they are just a little to bitter for me without sugar)? I eat mostly salmon, tuna, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, carrots, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, frozen peaches, some pork loin chops, some filet mignon (beef tenderloin), an occassional chicken breast. The only fried foods I eat are those that I fry myself in the healthiest (and most expensive) cooking oil; grapeseed oil. And I take about 2400 mg of fish oil (Omega-3) every day. I`ve reduced my intake of salt but I can`t cut it out. I do consume a fair amount of cheese and I do use unsalted stick butter for cooking. I consume almost no milk (only when I need it for cooking). About the only pasta I consume is Kraft macaroni and cheese and I only make that about twice a month. And about the only things I ever drink are high-pulp orange juice, Welch`s 100% Purple Grape Juice, and 100% pure pomegranate juice. I`m trying to get 100% pure Kiwi juice but its incredibly expensive.

Answer:

Thanks for your question.  While I cannot give you a specific/individualized diet, here are a few things to work on to improve your NAFLD.

For starters, this condition is linked with being overweight or obese.  That said, if you are carrying extra weight, your focus needs to be on weight loss, as well as a low fat diet.  You mention that you drink fruit juice.  It would be helpful to cut back on (or cut out) juice to reduce the number of calories consumed.  Juice is high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain.

Limiting foods high in fat and cholesterol will also help in treating NAFLD as well as hypercholesterolemia.  Replace fried foods with baked, broiled or grilled food and reduce your intake of butter, margarine, sour cream, full fat dairy products and high fat desserts.  Substitute olive, canola or peanut oil for vegetable and corn oil.  Limit consumption of cheese, mayonnaise and other high fat foods.

Eating higher fiber foods may also help.  Include more whole grains in your diet (such as bran cereal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, etc).  Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables and also include dried beans or lentils in your diet.  Studies indicate that vitamin C (from fruits & vegetables) may be beneficial in treating NAFLD.

NAFLD has also been linked with iron oxidation in the liver.  You may wish to limit your intake of red meat to 3 servings or less per week.  Include more fish, chicken or turkey or lean pork in your diet.  Or, choose meatless options such as beans, lentils or soy-based foods (tofu, soy nuts, tempeh, etc).

Finally- start moving.  Exercise is one of the best methods to a healthier weight and improved lipid levels.  If you have not exercised in a long time, always check with your doctor prior to starting.

You may want to employ a Registered Dietitian to help you with meal planning for your condition.  You can locate one through the American Dietetic Association.  Click on the link below for details.

Related Resources:

American Dietetic Association

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati