Many people believe that, once you’ve been diagnosed with a fatty liver, you have to stop eating meat, including chicken. But that is not correct. Meat in general – and chicken in particular – can still be part of a healthy diet for NAFLD.
Today, we will learn more about eating chicken if you have a fatty liver disease. We have discussed about eggs and fatty liver in the previous article, so it was about time to go for chicken as well.
Can you still eat chicken if you have a fatty liver?
Yes, you can still eat chicken with a fatty liver disease. Make sure to eat lean chicken only, like chicken breast. Never cook the chicken in fat, nor add sauces with sugars and extra fat, as these make it unhealthy.
It’s best to eat chicken grilled, baked or boiled if you have a fatty liver disease.
Best chicken meat to eat for NAFLD
Generally, when talking about a healthy diet for fatty liver and meat, we are told that we should stay away from red meat which is high in fat. This is indeed correct and it applies to chicken meat as well.
This means that we should always try to consume the white chicken meat (aka chicken breast) instead of the thighs or wings. The latter might be more tasty indeed, but they’re also more unhealthy, as they have more fats.
Let’s check out a comparison table below and see how things actually stand when it comes to chicken breasts vs skinless chicken thighs for NAFLD for 100 grams:
|Element||Chicken breast||Chicken Thighs|
|Fat||3.5 g||15 g|
|Saturated||1 g||4 g|
Looking at things in perspective, we can see clearly that breasts are a much better choice than thighs – as long as we’re talking about chicken.
It’s also worth mentioning that the numbers above are for skinless, boneless meat. If the skin is not removed, then the fat content in both cases will skyrocket.
So it’s extremely important to remember never to eat the skin on chicken. I know, that’s usually the most delicious part, especially if it’s cooked to a crispy perfection – but we should no longer eat that!
However, even chicken thighs are not horrible when it comes to the number of calories and fat content. This means that every now and then, for those who prefer the taste, a portion of boneless, skinless chicken thighs is allowed.
I personally consider everything that has under 15 grams of fat acceptable for eating, and the thighs are just there.
However, it’s pretty obvious that the breasts are the better choice in terms of nutrition – way less fat and a lot more protein. Perfect!
How to cook chicken for fatty liver
I mentioned already that the way you cook your chicken is also very important in keeping it healthy or making it one of the fatty liver foods you should stop eating.
Yes, chicken breasts are ok for fatty liver, but this doesn’t mean that you can deep fry them or turn them into a schnitzel or anything like that.
Frying any type of food will greatly increase the amounts of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as the overall number of calories.
You’ll also get more calories and potentially more unhealthy fats from all types of batter.
Most store-brought and even home-made sauces for chicken should also be removed from the list. They are usually high in fat, but also sugar.
Most of those in stores also have various other chemicals, including preservatives and aroma enhancers.
Finally, you should also pair your chicken with a healthy side dish. No fries (or potatoes that is) or anything like that. I recommend pairing them up with a vegetable salad, some grilled veggies or anything like that.
When it comes to cooking, you don’t have a lot of options, but fortunately they all result in tasty chicken that you can still enjoy. Here’s how I recommend you to cook chicken for fatty liver:
- grilled: just throw it on the grill with no extra oil and eat when ready. Plain and simple!
- baked: you can marinade it for a few hours to a day before (make your own without oil, sugar or other fats), or bake it as it is on baking paper.
- boiled: I am not a fan of boiled chicken, so I always add up some vegetables in the water and turn it into chicken broth. Hearty and perfect for the colder days of the year.
I personally got used to eating the chicken baked and have eaten it like this during my dieting for reversing fatty liver (and reverse it I did!).
It does get pretty dry when cooked like this and my family doesn’t like it… but it’s easy to make and still tastes good in my opinion.
A lot less mess than grilling it – and you can easily throw next to it some carrot sticks and onions and other vegetables for a complete meal.
Is Chicken Liver Good for Fatty Liver?
Frowning upon by many, chicken liver is a great food for NALFD if cooked healthily. Chicken liver has low fat contents, lots of protein and tons of vitamins and minerals.
For example, 100 grams of chicken liver only have 4.8g of fat, 24.5g of protein and just under 1g of carbs.
But you also get a ton of important vitamins and minerals – Vitamin A (200% of the recommended daily dose), B-complex vitamins (between 50 – 200%), iron (50%), Selenium (60%) and various other vitamins and minerals.
In other words, there’s a lot of good stuff in chicken liver, as opposed to eating pork with a fatty liver disease or other meats.
But it has one big con, unfortunately: it’s high in cholesterol. Eating 100 grams of chicken liver will get you just a bit over the recommended daily does of cholesterol.
However, unless you already have high cholesterols, eating chicken liver with moderation and in small amounts (portions of 80 grams) shouldn’t be much of a problem, on the contrary. It has so many important nutrients to ignore!
Just a word of caution: make sure that you cook the liver in a healthy way, without added oil or sauces that bring up the calorie numbers, as well as the fat and carb values.
Is Chicken Soup Good for Fatty Liver?
Chicken soup or broth is healthy and loaded with minerals, vitamins, protein and fatty acids.
For fatty liver, cook it with chicken breast or thighs – but don’t use the skins and don’t add extra oil or fat. Replace those with lots of vegetables and spices for a great taste!
I personally eat it constantly during the colder months and had done so while on my strict diet to reverse my fatty liver and I did reverse it without problems.
While chicken meat is not one of the superfoods for NAFLD, it’s one type of meat that you don’t have to cut off the list when working to reverse your condition.
However, you will most likely have to adjust how much you eat and, most importantly, how you eat it. Or, better said, how to cook it.
You will have to stick mostly to skinless chicken breasts with the occasional splurge into skinless chicken thighs.
But do keep in mind that you have to cook them in a healthy way (no added fat or sugars) and keep the portion sizes small.
But with all these in mind, I would go as far as saying that if you are a meat person, you can safely eat chicken breasts daily or on an almost daily basis if you suffer from fatty liver.
Ideally, you do take a few days off and consume no meat and also alternate with some fish for variety and added benefits, but overall chicken meat – as long as we’re talking about properly cooked skinless breasts – is OK for fatty liver.
I was diagnosed with a fatty liver back in 2014 and managed to reverse it by mid 2015. Since then, I’ve been studying NAFLD and I have decided to share everything I have learned over the years to help you reverse your condition.
I am also the admin of the Fatty Liver Support Group on Facebook and the Fatty Liver Subreddit.