Do you love cereal? Are you wondering if we (those diagnosed with Fatty Liver / NAFLD) are allowed to eat cereal? The answer – like everything around Fatty Liver – is not straightforward. Hence, today I am going to focus on this particular question and help answer this question for you.
Should we or should we NOT eat cereal when we have Fatty Liver? Let’s dig in!
Are we really allowed to have cereals if we have a fatty liver?
As you are already aware at this point, with a NAFLD-related diet, the answer is never a simple “yes” or “no”.
The BAD News
While there are so many types of cereals available in the stores, most fall under the “Leave it alone” list. Let’s be clear, Cereal is not inherently bad, however, most store-bought cereals fall under the category of “do not touch”! This is because they are highly processed and contain a ton of sugar and carb content.
The GOOD News
The good news is that if you eat the right kind of cereal – you can have cereals in your diet – whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner even when you are suffering with NAFLD.
So for Fatty Liver, which cereal should you eat and which cereal should you avoid ?
In the next section, let us explore this question further.
For Fatty Liver (NAFLD) – Which cereal is good to eat?
Before we get into the recommendations for the best cereal to eat, let’s have a quick refresher on a couple of important facts that you need to understand:
- Cereals by default are high in carbs.
- Not all carbs are inherently bad for NAFLD, in fact, the carbs which are not instantly absorbed are better. Especially when they provide additional nutritional value (minerals, vitamins and other nutrients) to the diet.
- However, when suffering from Fatty Liver, we must keep the carb intake in check. So moderation and controlled portions are key. Furthermore, please check out this article about good carbs and bad carbs on Healthline.
Finally, since cereal increases carbs intake, you do not have to add them to your diet – just ignore them altogether. If you are a cereal lover though, here are some of the cereals that are better and healthier for you.
Because of cereal’s high carb content, the next bit of recommendations are for cereal lovers. If you do not like cereal or if cereal was never part of your diet, there is no reason to add cereal to your diet. You can completely ignore the next section.
Let’s start with caution: DO NOT Go for the “Instant” or “Quick” type of oats. Instant oats are usually more refined, and processed and contain added sugar and flavor. Instead, always opt for steel-cut or rolled oats.
Always opt for steel-cut or rolled variety of oats. Stay away from the instant variety.
Next, let’s talk about how to cook the oats to adhere to Fatty Liver diet norms:
- Preferably, use water to boil not milk. Milk not only adds extra carbs and sugar but also adds fat (when using whole milk). However, you may add part water and part-skim milk but then be careful about the overall portion size. Please note: dairy is ok in moderation for fatty liver [#link].
- Don’t add any sugar.
- To sweeten, use fresh fruits. You can use frozen fruits, just make sure there is no added sugar to spoil your NAFLD diet.
- Alternatively, sweeten with one of the recommended sugar alternatives [#Iink].
Boil without milk (preferably), use fruits or NAFLD recommended sugar alternatives to sweeten, limit portion size. Enjoy!
In other words, keeping it natural and avoiding processed and added sugar is the way to go. While I am not an oats cereal fan (I like my oats spicy[#link]), I often use oats cereals to break the monotony of my breakfast routine.
Recommended Oats (affiliate links)
Did you know that Muesli is mainly made of oats? Along with oats, it has other grains, fruits, and seeds added in to create a phenomenal nutritional punch. However, this additional also results in higher sugar content as compared to Oats.
Important: Added sugars is a great risk with Muesli! Carefully read the ingredients and only go with zero or minimal added sugars!
Zero-added sugar Muesli is difficult to find, and hence, here are some options that I have tried and researched (affiliate links):
- Familia Swiss Muesli (0 added sugar)
- GUUD Athlete Fuel Active Life Blend Muesli Cereal (0 added sugar)
- Seven Sundays Keto Rise & Shine Muesli Cereal (0 added sugar)
3. Sugar-free cereal
This is last on our list because most cereals are heavily processed. This means that even though they may contain zero sugar, they can still stress the liver. However, it is ok to have cereal (in moderation) that have no added sugar or other chemicals. Moderation is key because they are almost always high in carbs. Preferably, try having one serving on your cheat day only and avoid having them regularly.
Zero-added sugar cereals are not easy to find, and hence, here are some options that I have researched for you (affiliate links):
- Fiber One (0 sugar, high in carbs but mostly fiber)
- Catalina Crunch Cinnamon Toast Keto Cereal (0 sugar)
For Fatty Liver (NAFLD) – Which cereal is NOT GOOD to eat?
This is easy to answer – Most cereals you get in the store are NOT good to eat. Just read the label and you will come to the same conclusion that the store-bought cereals are high in carbs, sugars, and added sugars. In fact, most breakfast cereal is not even good for healthy individuals let alone the ones suffering from NAFLD.
It is really hard to find a good and healthy cereal that you can eat in stores as every cereal manufacturer out there focuses on making the cereals more appealing to smell, taste and texture by adding sugar and processing them chemically. This results in the nutritional label just giving you information on what junk food would look like.
Stay away from most store bought cereals. Research well and read the ingredients before putting them on your shopping cart!
What do I do about cereal?
I was never a huge fan of cereal and Honey Bunches of Oats was my go-to cereal. After being diagnosed with Fatty Liver though I started paying more attention to the nutritional labels, and that’s when I had to throw the box out. Needless to say, I have never gone back, although I do miss it.
I have tried oats and muesli with milk and fruits only to break the monotony. Now and then, I also take one bowl of Fiber One Original cereal with fruits and I love the crunch (Does anyone else find it extremely hard to find Fiber One?).
My go-to breakfast involving oats is spicy oats – but that is a recipe for another day 🙂
Verdict: Avoid most store-bought cereals. Pay special attention to the nutrition label before buying.
I hope you found this article helpful. Together we can reverse this! Stay healthy, stay safe and stick to the plan!