Fatty Liver Foods & Diet

Can You Fry Foods in Olive Oil if You Have a Fatty Liver?

One of the first things that we have to stop eating after being diagnosed with a fatty liver is fried food. Some people still use oil to saute some foods, even if they stop deep frying. Is in this case olive oil a good choice?

We already talked about the best oil for fatty liver, which is extra virgin olive oil, but I still see a lot of people still wondering if it is a safe oil to cook with.

Most people believe that as long as EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is the top recommendation for those who suffer of a fatty liver, it’s also the best one to use when frying or sauteing food.

After talking with my friends and seeing some discussions about this type of oil on our support group on Facebook, I found out that many people use olive oil for frying and cooking their foods.

And, as it always seems to be the case when it comes to fatty liver, some say it’s OK, while some say it’s not. So… what should you do?

The truth is that even extra virgin olive oil, if fried, can become BAD for your health – and especially bad if you have a fatty liver / suffer from NAFLD.

At least this is my opinion.

Is It Safe to Fry Foods in Olive Oil?

I have read countless studies over the internet in the past and it seems that the more recent studies tend to consider that fried olive oil is not as bad as they thought in the past, but most of the results of these studies (those claiming it’s healthy and those claiming otherwise) are extremely contradictory: some state that olive oil has a low smoke point, others claim the exact opposite.

sauted food

Some claim that once you heat the olive oil for frying, it loses all its antioxidants and goodies that raw olive oil has, others claim that the changes are very low and not to be taken into consideration.

You can check out an article stating that olive oil is safe for frying here, for example.

An important mention about frying with olive oil is made by the International Olive Council, stating:

“In proper temperature conditions, without over-heating, it undergoes no substantial structural change and keeps its nutritional value better than other oils.”

Notice the “proper temperature” part. That is, according to them, 210 degrees Celsius (410 degrees Fahrenheit), while the “ideal” cooking temperature is 180 degrees (356 degrees Fahrenheit).

The USDA also agrees with these statements.

In other words, as long as the cooking temperature is right and you don’t heat the oil above these levels, things should be OK.

But do you really have control over the temperature in your pans and pots? Can you guarantee that it won’t go over 210 degrees Celsius (410) and burn the olive oil, turning it into an unhealthy mess?

If you can, then you can still use small quantities of oil to saute your food (but never deep fry it).

My take

If you REALLY think that you need to add extra oil to your foods when cooking – for that taste improvement – although that’s not really true in most cases, you can do the following:

Add one or two tbs of olive oil to the food AFTER you’ve cooked it, as soon as it’s done: this way, the temperature is no longer high enough to break it into unhealthy grease and you’ll get that oily taste too.

NOTE: I said one-two tablespoons referring to large quantities of prepared food (for a family, maybe even for a couple of days). If it’s just a portion, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil, and not more.

cooking without frying
You can still cook great food with no or very little extra oil

Finally, if you really believe that you can’t sacrifice frying for your well being and health, it is indeed better to accept the latest studies and prefer extra virgin olive oil for this purpose instead of other types of oils.

This was my approach as well. I went to the extremes because I really wanted to reverse it (and managed to!) so for the first year of dieting, I haven’t eaten anything with extra oil added to the mix.

It’s doable, although definitely not as tasty. But it surely helps you lose weight and stay healthy.

But based on the most recent studies, I decided that using a bit of olive oil here and there isn’t the end of the world.

I do my best to keep the temperature as low as possible when cooking (while still making sure that the food is properly cooked) and also when possible, I add the oil after the cooking process ends.

Ever since being diagnosed in 2014, I still haven’t eating more than a combined of three times French fries or any type of deep fried meat. It’s not easy, but you will get used to this sooner rather than later.

And it’s definitely worth it!

Why is it bad to eat fried foods for fatty liver?

This doesn’t have to do with the oil type that you’re using, nor with the temperatures used for cooking.

cooked food for fatty liver

Actually, no matter if you suffer from a fatty liver or not, fried foods are – although tasty – extremely unhealthy.

I am listing below some of the things that can turn your food from good to bad just by frying them:

  • When frying foods, you increase the number of calories you’re consuming, including the quantity of fat – which are both big NOs when dealing with a fatty liver, especially if you’re in the weight losing phase
  • The high temperatures used to heat the oil turn the fats into unhealthy ones, such as trans fats.
  • Some experts claim that heating EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil) for frying removes all antioxidants and good elements that the fresh oil has.
  • Fried foods can contain a toxic substance called Acrylamide which is created when cooking foods at high temperatures.

Finally, fried foods are associated with various health-related problems, from fatty liver to heart diseases, obesity and diabetes.

However, for most of these problems, I would say that they are the effect of the Cons listed above.

So, no matter what type of oil you use, make sure that you only use tiny amounts. The more you use, the higher the fat content and the more harm you’re doing to your body, be it a healthy one or not.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you should never eat fried foods after being diagnosed with a fatty liver, no matter what type of oil you’re using.

If you want to go through a transition period, either use a tiny amount of EVOO (use a spray, for example, to minimize the amount used) or add a bit of oil at the end of the cooking period, to make sure that the oil doesn’t break down into a bad-for-you thing.

Lynn

After being diagnosed with a fatty liver back in 2014, I started doing serious research about it and I didn't stop until I reversed mine in just 1.5 years. I decided to share all my expertise and findings in these blog - all based on my personal experiences and tons of research. I also run a highly successful Fatty Liver-related Facebook Group (see the sidebar!) and moderate the Fatty Liver reddit.

9 Comments

  1. I’m not sure about others, but if I go off the beaten path and eat something I shouldn’t, I pay for it and have for many, many years. My body won’t even consume fried foods period. It gives me IBS issues.

    Since I changed my diet, I don’t have that many problems. There are still things I’m supposed to be able to eat on the Fatty Liver diet, that I can’t eat on the LOW FODMAP diet for IBS, but it just gives me less options than most.

    I eat a lot of salad now. I was never able to eat salad before. It turns out it wasn’t the veggies, it was the stupid store bought dressing that put me into IBS symptoms. I now make dressing with Cold Press Extra Virgin Olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar and raw Honey called Basswood that’s made in the Ohio, Illinois, Great lakes areas. It’s in the part of the country I’m from. It’s pretty amazing too. The olive oil I’m using is for dressings. These three ingredients are all I use. I guess I could squeeze some lemon juice in it but, made this way it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. I simply shake and pour when I’m ready to use it. I think I eat the salad for the dressing now. I also use a lot of leafy greens gotten at a local farmer. I live in the country, so whatever other fresh grown fruits and veggies I can I get I do.

    I’ve stayed away from potatoes completely. This is super difficult for me. As is trying to find other things to do with Ground Turkey other than taco’s. That means frying the meat. I can do meatloaf but, I’m used to eating potatoes with them. It’s super difficult.

    You see I just started this diet a couple of weeks ago. I was told years ago that I had a fatty liver. Nobody said, you need to change your diet. The doctor just said, it’s what’ll kill you. why don’t you get a bi-pass surgery? No. I don’t knock it if you do it, but I’ve worked with nurses in ICU and other other areas all of the USA. A lot of nurses say don’t do it. They have a lot of people that come through ICU’s from complications or infections. It’s not an easy process. To me though it’s changing my God given body. I just can’t feel right about that. It’s like saying, I don’t like your creation God, here let me fix that. I had another doctor say it the other day. Why do they push this? I will lose the weight. It’s not like I’m 300 lbs, yet. I’ve been within 15 lbs of my current weight for over 10 years. I’ll figure it out.

    Thank you so much for all the information on this website. It’s been a great help in my new adventure. One that I should of been doing by now.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your problems, Loretta – but I am also sure that you have what it takes to reverse this. It is indeed more complicated when additional problems are involved (like IBS), making the dieting part even more difficult, but there’s always a way out, as long as you can stick to your plans. And you will see that you’ll get adjusted to the new way of eating relatively fast.

      1. Unfortunately, today I was told I needed an ultrasound guided liver biopsy. They believe it to be F4 cirrhosis. I’m not sure how. I don’t drink and haven’t in many years. I take that back I went 8 years and didn’t drink and for a short while 7 years ago I drink on Saturday for like 6 weekends. I drank once since then and that was 4 years ago. I don’t even have the desire. Especially now. I’m sticking to the liver friendly diet and do what I can to survive. If I can afford it.

      2. I am sorry to hear that, Loretta. Dieting and sticking to an exercise plan is indeed what you need. There are people claiming that they have managed to reverse Cirrhosis as well by sticking to eating healthy, so don’t lose hope!

  2. If olive oil is not good for frying then what is the best oil to to shallow fry ? I make healthy vegetable curry and slightly my onions and veg for 1 minute. Otherwise I don’t get good taste then will end up binge eating. I don’t like to use coconut oil as my go said reduce high fats.

  3. If you do not use oil to fry, how do you sauté or cook meat? Do you use a non stick pan? I have dealt with high liver enzymes and a liver biopsy about 10 years ago, no problems with my liver. Every time I get a new doctor, the whole issue starts over due to high liver enzymes. I’m trying to find out what to do. I do not drink, but I’m constantly worried about this. I do not want to keep getting liver biopsies. Thank you, Tammy

    1. Tammy, adding a bit of water to cook the meat in will work great. You can also use a non stick pan – see what works best for you.

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