7 Health Benefits of Avocado Smoothies

7 Health Benefits of Avocado Smoothies

Written by Aly Bouzek, MS, RDN
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Avocados have been increasing in popularity over the years due to their high healthy fat content. In 1985, 436 million pounds of avocado were consumed in the US. In 2020, more than 2.7 billion pounds of avocado were consumed.

To put that increase into perspective, individuals consumed about 2 pounds each of avocado in 2000 and almost 8.5 pounds per person in 2021 in the US.

Wow! How about we learn more about the awesome avocado?

Avocado 101

Avocados have a smooth, buttery, creamy texture, and a slightly nutty flavor. The edible part of an avocado is the light green to yellow flesh inside the skin.

Avocados boast alternative names including alligator pear (for its bumpy skin and pear shape) and avocado pear.

Which leads into a common question: Are avocados a fruit or a vegetable? Drum roll please… Avocados are actually classified as a nutrient-dense fruit! Technically speaking, this is because they are a berry with one large pit/seed.

Tree Nuts

Avocados, grown from the Persea americana tree, are native to Central America and Mexico. They were first domesticated in the US (Florida) in 1833 and then expanded to California in 1856. California is now the leading avocado producer in the US.

Worldwide? Mexico takes the gold medal of top avocado producer. In 2021, Mexico harvested around 2.4 million tons of avocados.

Nutrient Profile of Avocados

An average-sized avocado provides 240 calories, 3 grams of protein, 22 grams of fat, almost 13 grams of carbohydrate, and 10 grams of fiber. Avocados are also cholesterol-free and are low in sodium at less than 11 mg per avocado.

blood sugar management

Avocado Ripening Tips

Most of us can probably relate to the woes of ripening avocados. You bring them home from the store and they are hard and unripe for what feels like forever. Then, when you turn your back for ⅛ of a second, they are overripe and ready for the compost bin.

Avocados are hard in the stores because they are picked when they are immature. They only ripen after harvest and sometimes this takes a little patience.

weight management

A tip to help ripen your avocados is to try placing them with a few apples in a bowl on the counter. Apples emit ethylene gas which ripens other produce quickly. Placing your unripe avocados with apples will ripen them faster than if the avocados were sitting by themselves.

For storage, once the avocados are ripe, keep them in an airtight container. The oxygen deprivation will help prevent them from ripening further. Additionally, if you need to store your avocado for one day or less, try keeping them in your refrigerator with both skins together.

Another tip is to not buy too many avocados at once. Sometimes they all become ripe at the same time and then you have more than you need at that moment.

Where to use Avocado

Avocados are such a versatile nutrient-dense food. They can be added to almost anything, savory or sweet, or they can be enjoyed raw.

Where you can add avocado:

  • Guacamole (of course!)
  • Toast
  • Dips
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches (and anywhere that you can use it to replace butter or mayo)
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Eggs
  • Sushi
  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Coffee
  • Smoothies
  • And so much more!

A quick avocado fun fact about incorporating the fruit in your diet: Did you know that you can actually grind up the seed/pit and eat it? How amazing!

What About Avocado Oil?

Avocado oil is unrefined oil that is pressed from avocados. Unrefined means that it retains some of its green coloring and slightly nutty flavor. It is high in unsaturated fats making it a heart healthy oil.

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Avocado oil has much of the same health benefits as avocados, but can also lend a hand when cooking and is used in skin care products to help with moisturization.

Benefits of Avocado Smoothies

Have you ever added avocado to your smoothies? If you haven’t, buckle up. Smoothies with avocado are creamier and have a boost of nutrients. Oh, and did we mention that avocado smoothies are delicious too?!

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Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #1: Heart Health

As we learned above, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats help to reduce blood pressure, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, decrease your risk of blood clots, improve cholesterol levels, and improve your overall heart health. (1)

Avocados are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALAs help to prevent heart disease.

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Additionally, potassium that avocados provide helps with cellular function, blood pressure regulation, and may prevent artery hardening.

As we can see, avocado smoothies can help improve your heart health! Try adding a handful of frozen avocado to your next smoothie to create a creamy, heart healthy masterpiece.

Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #2: Eye Health

Avocados are great for heart health, but they are also a great food for eye health. Our retinas, the inner tissue layer of our eyes, have increased concentrations of fatty acids.

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We need to continue eating foods that are rich in fatty acids to keep our eyes healthy and functioning efficiently. Cue the avocado.

Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids found in avocados, are helpful in preventing and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. (2)

By adding avocado to your smoothies, you can help protect your eye health. Try adding a small handful of kale to your smoothie to boost those eye health nutrients!

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Pro tip: remove the stalk and stems from kale before blending.

Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #3: Brain Health

The healthy plant fats found in avocados have been shown to assist in improving cognitive function and brain health.

The monounsaturated fat and B vitamins in avocados help with memory and may help reduce homocysteine levels. (3) Note that increased homocysteine levels are risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Along with reducing the risk of dementia, AD, and cognitive decline, adding avocados to the MIND diet can be helpful in protecting your brain health.

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. These diets focus on foods that increase heart health and protect brain health.

To boost your brain health even more, try adding some almonds to your next avocado smoothie. The nutty-tasting smoothie will be both satiating and delicious!

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Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #4: Pregnancy Health

Avocados are great to consume during pregnancy – for both mom and baby. Avocados are nutrient-dense and help with satiety due to their high calorie content.

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Additionally, avocados offer a rich source of folate. Folic acid helps to form the baby’s neural tube which can help prevent neural tube defects and anencephaly.

Folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, but folate is the natural form of the vitamin and folic acid is the form of folate that is added to supplements and used to fortify some foods.

Folic acid is better absorbed by the body, but folate and folic acid are equally important for our health.

Add some leafy greens, like spinach, to your avocado smoothie to get more folate in your diet!

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Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #5: Cancer Prevention

As noted above, avocados are a great source of fat-soluble carotenoids. Carotenoids are phytochemicals that are reported to have anti-cancer properties. (4)

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However, data surfacing about avocados and their role in cancer prevention is still very new. Many more studies need to be conducted before cancer prevention from avocados is confirmed or not.

Pro tip: to access most of the carotenoids that avocados offer, scrape away the flesh that’s really close to the avocado skin.

Combining avocado with pumpkin in your smoothie will increase the amount of carotenoids that you’re consuming. For a super easy smoothie, opt for frozen, cubed avocado and canned pumpkin puree.

Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #6: Bone Health

Both vitamin K and zeaxanthin from avocados can help improve your bone health. Vitamin K and zeaxanthin can help to strengthen bones, assist with bone metabolism, help to reduce the risk of fractures, and may reduce the risk of an osteoporosis diagnosis. (1,5,6)

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When preparing your avocado smoothie, toss in a handful or two of spinach. Spinach contains both vitamin K and zeaxanthin and can help support your bone health.

Benefits of Avocado Smoothies #7: Bowel Health

Avocados are looking more and more like a superhero superfood! One of the main avocado nutrients that we haven’t talked about yet is fiber. Avocados are high in soluble fiber and can help promote a healthy digestive system.

With 10 grams of fiber per avocado and a low sugar profile, avocados are a great way to get your fiber without the discomfort of gas and bloating.

Want to add more fiber to your avocado smoothie to help with your bowel health? Try adding ½ cup of raspberries or blackberries.

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Pro tip: when increasing your fiber, start slow and make sure to stay hydrated!

Wrap Up: Benefits of Avocado Smoothies

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Avocado is an amazing, nutrient-dense fruit. Adding it to your smoothies can help with satiety (feeling fuller for longer) and it can help with:

  1. Heart health
  2. Eye health
  3. Brain health
  4. Pregnancy health
  5. Cancer prevention
  6. Bone health
  7. Bowel health

And don’t forget about all the other ways you can incorporate the versatile avocado into your meals and snacks! We’d love to hear how you’ve used avocado in your smoothies! 

If you’re interested in learning more about the awesome avocado, then head over to our podcast, My Wife the Dietitian, and check out episode #55. Don’t miss it!

Listen in to Episode

#55 on My Wife The Dietitian to learn all about Awesome Avocados on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman

My Wife the Dietitian
Diet Culture in the Fitness Industry

Diet Culture in the Fitness Industry

Diet Culture in the Fitness Industry

Written by Lisa Duncan (guest writer and podcast guest)
Owner/Operator of Activate Athletic Studio
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

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I feel so much sadness for my younger self. I wish I could go back in time and make her realize that her worth was not dictated by her body.

And that the people around her loved her for her, and not because of the shape and size of her body.

And that anybody who DID want her around just for her appearance didn’t deserve a place in her life.

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Most of my life I was drowning in diet culture, with nobody to save me, because they were all swimming in it too. My Mom, my Aunties, and family friends. I would hear them talk of the latest and greatest diet they were on. I would hear them speak about their fat bodies with such disgust toward themselves. I would hear them cheer and shout from the rooftops when they lost the baby weight, or fit into their smaller sized jeans. It made me feel like attaining a smaller body must be one of life’s greatest achievements. A fat body was bad. That message stayed with me most of my life.

I’ve been through the whole gamut of diet culture, including disordered eating and body dysmorphia.  

Diet culture is a collective set of social expectations telling us that there’s one way to be and one way to look and one way to eat and that we are a better and healthier person, we’re a more worthy person if our bodies look a certain way. Diet culture is everywhere, and it’s so pervasive, people have no idea just how much they are entrenched in it.

It’s been a very sneaky shape-shifter over the years—you might think you’re not subscribing to diet culture, as these insidious “lifestyles” may not overtly promise weight loss. Often they market “eating healthier” under the guise of well-being, which can make them tougher to recognize. Yet if you look closer, the message is still the same: follow this plan, do these things, and you’ll be “healthier” (subtext: thinner). It’s still making money by feeding into the fear of being fat and all the moral implications that our culture assigns to food choices and body size.  

Inspired by a client who felt her bigger body did not belong at our studio, I took a course on intuitive eating, body diversity, and weight stigma with a respected mentor. That changed everything for me. All of my long-held beliefs on health, food, bodies were all challenged, and transformed.

The most obvious signs of diet culture are: black and white thinking, food described as:

  • clean, dirty,
  • good or bad,
  • foods deemed detoxifying,
  • super foods or miracle foods.

This can cause the simple act of eating into guilt and shame.

Tree Nuts

Sadly, some of the biggest perpetrators of diet culture are the professionals working within the fitness industry. And I was no different.

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When weight loss and changing our bodies is the driver behind our exercise and food choices, we immediately cut off trust to our body. We rely on other people’s rules and what we think we SHOULD do, instead of listening to what we NEED. When we cannot sustain the diet and exercise plan, we are bound to have guilt, shame, judgement and see food and movement through a good/bad lens.

I’ve learned what we hear, think, and say has a profound influence on how we feel about our health and our bodies.

How many times have you attended a fitness class where phrases like “let’s burn off that cake”, or “alright ladies beach season is coming up, gotta look good in our bathing suits!” or “come on gals, let’s get rid of that muffin top,” have been barked with the intention of being motivating? In the fitness industry, the biggest barometers for success are marked by external physical indicators– fat burned, pounds lost and waist sizes dropped – without adequate regard to mental health or internal physical benefits.

So much of our culture is obsessed with thinness that a lot of gyms and trainers assume that this is what clients want, or should want. But the truth is people truly can be healthy at every size. In fact, there’s a fantastic science-based movement called Health at Every Size (HAES) that emphasizes the fact that body size and shape are NOT the best predictors of health and well-being, and that each person has a unique body with its own needs for optimal health.

Your “ideal” body weight is the weight that allows you to feel strong and energetic and lets you lead a healthy, normal life.

Your body can be healthy across a wide range of weights.

Women have become conditioned to believing in the unrealistic standards of beauty set by society. Their self-worth is so very often decided by others’ perception of them.

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If a Fitness Coach thinks they are motivating me by telling me, get your body ready for summer, get your bikini body, or talks about an exercise being good for a better-looking butt or any body part, this is not motivating, this is body shaming. They are clearly not educated in eating disorders or body dysmorphia.

Words and phrases like that tend to linger and fester, especially for anyone who has struggled with an eating or body dysmorphic disorder. They can be dangerous, causing a person to go home to engage in some very unhealthy behaviors.

As personal trainers and fitness instructors, we have a powerful platform that can impact our clients in meaningful and lasting ways. Words matter. Words have power.

The truth is that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that all bodies are valuable no matter what they look like or how healthy they are. But that doesn’t mean many of us aren’t subject to subtle or inadvertent shaming even by those closest to us … or that we aren’t accidentally shaming others without realizing it, too. Moving forward and away from the very narrow beauty standards society sets for us is essential for us to live fully and freely. Ditching diet culture and the thin ideal they hold over us will allow us the confidence we need to be ourselves without fear of judgement.

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My approach to training and mindset coaching is heavily influenced by my personal journey breaking free from decades of chronic dieting, toxic workout habits, and working to heal my body image. I want to show you that it is possible to embrace your body as it is, and have an empowering experience with movement and exercise.

(I want to acknowledge that I benefit from thin privilege. That means that my body has always fit inside society’s definition of an “acceptable” size. Although I have struggled with my relationship with food and my body, I have not had to face the discrimination that those in larger bodies face every day just for existing.)

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Lisa has been a Personal Trainer since 2018, defying industry standards with her abilities and inclusive approach. She holds certifications in the health and wellness world that lend to empowering individuals on their health journey. These include certified personal trainer, sports nutrition coach, and Girls Gone Strong Women’s Coach Specialist.

Her career started back in 1997 while working for Great West Fitness on the Lower Mainland, a time when she was entrenched in diet and weight loss culture.

After facing body dysmorphia and overcoming disordered eating, Lisa made it her mission to help other women heal their relationships with food and fitness.

In 2018, Lisa and her husband Craig launched their own business, Activate Athletic Studio.

The goal was to create a space that made everyone feel safe and welcome, and to feel comfortable accessing fitness and wellness, while also feeling a sense of community. Their focus is on helping others improve their mood, increase mobility, build strength, get better sleep, and other aspects of overall health rather than setting goals to changing your body’s size or appearance.

At Activate, you will never experience body shame, diet talk, or other behaviours encouraged by diet culture—just 100% judgment-free care on your journey to feel better.

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Listen in to Episode

Tune in to Episode # 60 My Wife The Dietitian to hear the interview with Lisa Duncan

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman

My Wife the Dietitian
Is Soy Yogurt High in Sugar?

Is Soy Yogurt High in Sugar?

Written by Aly Bouzek, MS, RDN
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

What is Yogurt?


Dairy yogurt is made by fermenting milk with culture (also known as bacteria). All yogurts have active cultures (live bacteria) and some are a probiotic that can help with gut health. 

Common bacteria that’s used to make yogurt includes Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The bacteria’s job, besides giving yogurt its distinctive flavor, is to create lactic acid from the lactose (milk sugar). And then, voilà! You’ve got yogurt. 

Not only is yogurt delicious, but it also has many nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Let’s discuss the differences between dairy yogurt, Greek yogurt, and plant yogurts. We’ll also learn more about the different types of plant yogurts and how to shop for the healthiest versions.

Dairy/Regular Yogurt


Dairy yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, potassium, and magnesium. These are all important nutrients that, when combined, can offer a lot of health benefits. 

Calcium is notorious for supporting bone health. It’s what helps make your bones hard and strong. Calcium’s other roles in your body include muscle contraction, nervous system communication, hormone release, and blood vessel activity.

Cheese has calcium

Even though calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, you still need to make sure that calcium-rich foods are included in your diet. Yogurt is an excellent option to help you get more calcium.

If you’re curious how much calcium you should be consuming, then check out this helpful 

 fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health. 

Other dairy yogurt benefits may include: 

  • Probiotics to aid in digestion and help with the gut-brain connection for mental health
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Reducing diabetes risk
  • Supporting weight management
  • Soft, moist texture option for those with poor dentition or swallowing difficulty

Dairy yogurt is great for a snack, side, and added to your favorite smoothie recipe. But what about Greek yogurt?


Greek Yogurt


Greek yogurt is strained through a cheesecloth before being packaged for consumption. This process produces a yogurt that is thicker and less watery. Because it is in this “concentrated” form, Greek yogurt offers double the protein when compared to regular dairy yogurt. 

Double Protein

There’s one caveat though – Greek yogurt lacks calcium. This is due to the straining process mentioned above. When yogurt is strained to make Greek yogurt, some of the calcium is left behind.

Remember that “watery” portion of yogurt we mentioned? Have you ever opened a container of yogurt and noticed the little bit of water that’s settled on top of the yogurt? That’s actually where a majority of the calcium is found. 

When you open a regular dairy yogurt, and see the water on the top, you’re likely to mix it up until your yogurt is smooth. That’s important because that’s what you’re supposed to do! This allows the calcium to mix back into the yogurt and eventually end up in your stomach. 

With Greek yogurt, that water is strained away, leaving behind less calcium than is found in regular dairy yogurt. Pretty interesting, right?

What is Plant (Yo)Gurt?

Plant-based Yogurts

Plant yogurt, or “plant gurt,” is a wonderful alternative to dairy yogurt. If you’re vegan, have troubles digesting dairy, or are allergic to lactose, then you may want to tune in. 

There are many types of plant yogurts and those include: 

  • Soy yogurt (soygurt)
  • Coconut yogurt (cocogurt)
  • Almond yogurt (almondgurt)
  • Cashew yogurt (cashewgurt)
  • Pea yogurt (peagurt)
  • Oat yogurt (oatgurt)

Plant yogurts offer fiber, have no lactose, and have a lower carbon footprint in comparison to dairy yogurt. 

Nutrition Label


There are a few things to keep in mind regarding the nutrition label and the next plant yogurt you grab at the store. 

Check to see if the plant yogurt is plain or flavored. Plain (or unsweetened) plant yogurt is a great choice because it allows you to add whatever toppings you enjoy without added sugar. Adding berries is a great start to sprucing up your plain plant yogurt. 

You’ll want to check the fat content. Low fat is the term used for yogurts with 0%, 1%, or 2% fat. High fat is anything above 2% fat. Opting for a low fat plant yogurt will provide fewer calories, less fat, and can help with attaining a healthy weight. 

When shopping for a plant yogurt, make sure to check out the amount of protein in comparison to the amount of sugar. You’ll want to choose a plant yogurt when the grams of protein are higher than the grams of sugar. You’ll stay fuller longer, feel more satiated, and will have less of a chance of “crashing” later when your blood sugar returns to normal.

Choose Low Fat & Less Sugar

Some plant gurts have added sugar. If this is the case with the one you’re eyeing, then make sure that it has less than 9 grams (2 teaspoons) of sugar per serving. Each 5-6 oz container of yogurt is considered one serving. So, check the nutrition label of those little guys to make sure there are less than 9 grams of sugar. 

We mentioned to make sure that the grams of protein are higher than the grams of sugar. Well, while you’re checking out the protein content, you should make sure that it has at least 6 grams of protein per serving

6 gm Protein Per Serving

Finally, check the plant yogurt nutrition label to make sure that there is at least 10% of the Daily Value for calcium. We’ve already discussed why calcium is so important for our bodies to function, so make sure your plant yogurt can hold its own when it comes to calcium. 

To recap, when choosing plant yogurts (or even regular dairy yogurts), make sure to choose yogurts that:

  • Are plain instead of flavored 
  • Are low fat (0%, 1%, or 2%) instead of high fat (higher than 2%)
  • Have protein grams higher than sugar grams
  • Are less than 9 grams (2 tsp) of sugar per serving
  • Have at least 6 grams of protein per serving
  • Have at least 10% of the Daily Value for calcium 

SoyGurt: Is Soy Yogurt High in Sugar?


Soy yogurt is made from soy milk, which is made from soybeans. It’s a good source of protein, is high in potassium, and contains fiber since it is made from a plant source. Soy yogurt is actually higher in potassium than coconut yogurt and oat yogurt. 

Soy yogurt may be sweetened with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to make up for the milk sugar that it’s missing. That brings up the question, is soy yogurt high in sugar?

Soy Yogurt

Is Soy Yogurt High in Sugar?


The amount of sugar in soy yogurt depends on the brand and the flavor. Soy is still a relatively new plant yogurt, so there are not many brands and flavors to date. Today we are sharing 3 different soy yogurt brands. 

Please note that all soy yogurts mentioned below have been converted to 5.3 oz (150 grams) for ease of nutrient breakdown comparison. 

Currently, there is one company in the US that makes soy yogurt – Silk

Silk Soymilk Dairy-Free Yogurt comes in 5 different flavors. All are available as single serving sizes (5.3 oz), except the Plain flavor which comes in a 24 oz tub. Unfortunately, Silk does not yet make an unsweetened version of its soymilk yogurt, so the lowest amount of sugar (Plain flavor) is 4.4 grams per serving. 

Silk Soymilk Yogurt

Here is a comparison of Silk Soymilk Dairy-Free Yogurts:

Peach Mango
Serving Size
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
4.4 gm
12 gm
12 gm
12 gm
16 gm
6.2 gm
6 gm
6 gm
6 gm
6 gm
1.8 gm
2 gm
2 gm
2 gm
2 gm

Additionally, there is one Canadian brand of soy yogurt – Yoso Soygo.

Yoso Soygo

Yoso soy yogurt comes in 4 flavors in the tub size, and 4 flavors in their single-serving multipacks. Yoso, like Silk, does not have an unsweetened soy yogurt. Let’s check out a comparison of Yoso Soygo flavors:

Serving Size
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
1.7 gm
6.9 gm
7.7 gm
7.7 gm
6.9 gm
6.9 gm
6.9 gm
6.9 gm
1.7 gm
1.7 gm
3.4 gm
6 gm

Finally, from Australia, is Vitasoy Greek Style Soy Yogurt.


Vitasoy comes in 4 flavors in various tub sizes. Additionally, like Silk and Yoso, Vitasoy does not have unsweetened soy yogurt. Here’s a breakdown of Vitasoy Greek Style Soy Yogurts:

Plain (Thick & Creamy)
Hint of Vanilla
Hint of Strawberry
Hint of Mango & Passionfruit
Serving Size
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
5.3 oz (150 gm)
3 gm
9.9 gm
9.8 gm
10.4 gm
10.1 gm
9 gm
9 gm
9 gm
0.4 gm
0.4 gm
0.4 gm
0.4 gm

Wrap-Up: Is Soy Yogurt High In Sugar?


The global plant-based food market is supposed to reach about $74 billion dollars by 2027. So, maybe with this expansion additional soy yogurt brands and unsweetened versions will be available. 

Based on this information we can answer the question, is soy yogurt high in sugar? The answer is: it depends. Yoso Soygo’s Plain flavor has the lowest grams of sugar (1.7 grams) out of all the flavors of Yoso, Silk, and Vitasoy soy yogurts. 

Yoso Soygo’s flavors all have sugar that’s less than 9 grams (remember the nutrition label markers to watch for?). So they do fit the parameters, but only the Plain and Raspberry Yoso Soygo flavors have the correct sugar to protein ratio (grams of sugar less than grams of protein). 

Silk’s Plain flavor is the only Silk flavor that has protein grams higher than sugar grams, AND it’s the only flavor that offers less than 9 grams of sugar per serving. 

And finally, Vitasoy’s Plain (Thick & Creamy) soy yogurt is that brand’s only soy yogurt with grams of sugar less than the protein amount – coming in at 3 grams of sugar and 10.1 grams of protein per 5.3 oz serving. 

As you can see, it depends on the yogurt brand and flavor as to the question, is soy yogurt high in sugar? 

If you are looking to try soy yogurt, then we suggest opting for: 

  • Yoso’s Plain or Raspberry soy yogurt
  • Silk’s Plain soy yogurt
  • Vitasoy’s Plain (Thick & Creamy) soy yogurt

If you’re interested in learning more about the different kinds of plant gurts, then make sure to head over to our podcast, My Wife the Dietitian, and check out episode #21. You won’t want to miss it! 

#21 on My Wife The Dietitian to learn all about Plant Gurts on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman

My Wife The Dietitian Podcast
Rescued and Redistributed Food

Rescued and Redistributed Food

Rescued and Redistributed Food

By Meredith Cushing, RD, MS, MSHSE (Guest writer and podcast guest)

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Food Price Hikes Lead to Food Insecurity

Food prices at the grocery store have increased on average by 11% with some food items having increased more than 30%.  Food inflation has been almost double that of the overall inflation rate for almost 10 months in a row.  What this translates to is, an increase in food insecurity, the inability to reliably provide oneself with healthy food, having to accept a decline in quality of one’s food and nutrition due to cost, having to skip meals, and sometimes not eating for a day or more at a time because of a lack of funds.  Visits to the Food Bank are up to over 1,000 new clients each month.  And as the price of pretty much everything continues to rise, there is less money left at the end of the day to purchase quality, nutritious foods.

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Food Redistribution Centers

There have been a number of community based initiatives that are helping to reduce the burden of food insecurity.  These range from free programs to low cost and subsidized programs.  One movement that is gaining popularity is rescued and redistributed food.  Food rescue, sometimes called food recovery, is the practice of donating edible food to charities and not-for-profit organizations that is at risk of being wasted by businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, and produce markets.  Food redistribution takes surplus foods that are at risk of being wasted by food businesses and redistributes them through donation or by re-selling it at a price slash to discount markets, other food businesses, or to charities and other not-for-profits.

Food Waste and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Approximately 58% of all food produced in Canada is wasted or lost every year.  Within produce alone, $3.1 billion worth is rejected every year purely for cosmetic reasons.  Meanwhile, Canada is experiencing the highest increase in food costs since 2010.  There is also an environmental cost to food waste: 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis comes from food wasted in the landfill. When food ends up in the landfill it gets covered by other garbage and rots in an anaerobic state – meaning it doesn’t get any oxygen while it decomposes.  This creates methane gas, which is a leading cause of greenhouse gasses that are making a noticeable gaping hole in the ozone layer and significantly contributing to climate change.

Tree Nuts

Preventing Food Waste at the Retail Level

Grocery retailers, restaurants and businesses have taken steps to divert potential food waste through improving procurement and operating procedures as well as shortening supply chains to keep foods fresher, longer.  Retailers also partner with food banks, food recovery and rescue agencies.  With all their efforts, they are still left with a significant amount of food which typically gets sent to the landfill.

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Food Bank

The Food Bank is one of the most well known and recognized community supports for those experiencing food insecurity.  The food bank helps a variety of individuals, such as students, families, immigrants and unemployed individuals.  By partnering with farmers, manufacturers and retailers to safely recover and redistribute surplus food at every point of the supply chain.  The network of over 4, 750 affiliate Food Banks and agencies supported by the Food Banks Canada is reducing the environmental impact of food waste while helping millions of people escape food poverty.  In 2021 an incredible 191M lbs. of surplus food was recovered by the food banking network.

blood sugar management

Community Fridges

Community fridges are a novel resource popping up in many communities.  “Take what you need. Leave what you can” is the message featured on many of the fridges in Vancouver. The fridges are run by volunteers.  This initiative is designed to help improve food security via a decentralized distribution network. Donations to the fridges are always welcome.  The fridges accept fresh produce (purchased or grown), non-perishable items (dry pasta, rice), canned and dried goods, baked goods and breads, pre-packaged goods, dairy products, frozen meats, beverages (non-alcoholic) and plant-based foods.  Fridges do not accept home cooked meals unless they have been donated by a registered kitchen or restaurant.  A good rule of thumb would be to date and label any donations to the community fridge. A full list of community fridges located in Vancouver is available in the resource section.

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 Photo Community Fridge at Little Mountain, Vancouver

Apps for Discounted Food

Flashfood is an app based program where you can get massive savings on fresh food items like meat and produce that are nearing their best before date at grocery stores across Canada and the US.  Grocers can sell food at 50% off the retail price through the app.  This allows grocers to recover costs and significantly reduce their carbon footprint.  Consumers are able to take advantage of healthier food items like produce, meat and prepared meals that they would ordinarily deem too expensive.  You do have to have a credit card that you link to the app to pay for your order and you require transportation to pick the order up from the store.

beans heart health

Another app based program is Too Good to Go.  Too Good to Go lets customers buy and collect Surprise Bags of food at 1/3 of the price directly from the business.  Everyday, delicious fresh food goes to waste at bakeries, restaurants, hotels and grocery stores – just because it wasn’t sold in time.  Too Good to Go makes sure good food gets eaten, not wasted.  You reserve your mystery bundle on the app then go to the store at the designated pick up time to collect your order.

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Photo of a Too Good To Go mystery bundle from a local grocery store.

Food Rescue Operations

Food Stash is a registered charity located in Vancouver.  They have been in operation since 2016.  Food Stash keeps good, surplus food from going to waste and delivers it to where it’s needed.  Their mission is two fold: reduce the environmental impact of food waste and bridge the food insecurity gap that exists within the community.  Their vision is a sustainable food system that supports healthy communities and a thriving environment.  Food Stash has four main functions; rescue surplus food from grocery stores, wholesalers and farms, deliver rescued food to local charities, deliver weekly groceries to food insecure households for a low fee and their ‘Pay what you feel’ rescued food market that is open to everyone.  They offer healthy perishable food (fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat). 

PEKO, serving the MetroVancouver Area, is Western Canada’s first online delivery service dedicated to “peculiar” and surplus groceries. Everything they sell is up to 40% off retail prices.  60% of the cost of orders placed for Wednesday delivery is donated to Food Stash. PEKO was started by two students at UBC who saw a need to reduce the amount of food waste that was going into landfills.  Peko Produce specializes in reducing food waste by sourcing this “peculiar” produce directly from suppliers and offering it to consumers at less than grocery store prices. It gives consumers the easy option to purchase highly discounted groceries — and have them delivered — all while helping the planet. On top of aesthetics, being surplus or near the end of its shelf life will also deter a retailer from carrying produce. In order to save all the rejects, Peko Produce sources items from all of these categories, taking both organic and conventional produce, and creating “mystery boxes” with their findings. Each mystery box contains 10 to 12 lbs of peculiar and surplus produce and nine to 10 varieties of these “imperfect” local and exotic fruits and vegetables.

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Photo of mystery box or “peculiar” produce.

How To Donate to Organizations

Thinking of donating to one of these organizations? There are some rules, tips and etiquette for donating to various programs to make the most of your donation.

  • Always consult with the organization first before donating to find out what food items they need. Most organizations operate on very tight budgets with limited resources to receive, sort, store, or use donated food so it is important to only donate food they can use to help keep their costs down.
  • Donate nutritious foods.  Most organizations are looking for nutritious food items, such as vegetables and fruits, grains, meat, and dairy products. Avoid donating food and beverages that are high in fat, sugar, or sodium, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, low-nutrient snacks, pastries, and candy. 
  • Ensure the food is safe to eat.  Do not donate unsafe or undesirable food items such as expired baby formula, open or damaged packages of food, or stale bread. Organizations that receive unsafe or undesirable foods will incur costs to dispose of the items.
  • Deliver food donations to the organization.  Deliver donations to organizations instead of asking them to pick up. This will reduce their transportation costs.
  • Give plenty of advance notice.  Give advance notice to the organization when donating food so they can plan ahead to receive, store, and use the food items, particularly foods that require refrigeration or freezing. 

There are also steps that you can take to prevent food waste at home.  Of the 5.14 million tonnes of food that is wasted annually by households in Canada, 63% is avoidable, consisting of food that could have been eaten. For the average Canadian household, that amounts to 140 kilograms of wasted food per year – at a cost of more than $1,100 per year.

  • Plan it out.  One of the most effective ways to reduce food waste at home – and save money – is to plan your meals and shop smart, so you buy only what you need and you use everything you buy.

When making a meal plan for the week, determine first what you can make with the food you already have and then add some of your favourite meals.

Use your meal plan to create a shopping list and then, before you shop, check your fridge, freezer, and cupboards to see what you have and what you need.

  • Use it up.  To help reduce edible food waste at home, use up the food you already have in your fridge, pantry, or cupboard.

Often a quick fix in the kitchen can revive would-be throwaway food items into healthy and tasty meals. For example, soaking wilted veggies in ice water is often enough to reinvigorate them. If they can’t be revived, some veggies you intended to eat raw can still be a tasty ingredient in a cooked dish or in a smoothie.

  • Best before dates. We know that the date labels can be confusing and can lead to food being thrown away or composted prematurely. Learn more about the best before dates so you can avoid throwing out food that is still good to eat. 
  • Keep it fresh.  Storing your food properly will make it last longer and you will end up throwing away less.  45% of food that is wasted at home is produce, often because it wasn’t stored properly.
  • Recipes.  Find delicious recipes and tips for using up extra ingredients and leftovers. 

Be part of the solution and join the rescued food movement today!

taco salad

Listen in to Episode

#43 on My Wife The Dietitian to learn all about Food Rescue and Food Waste Prevention with Meredith Cushing, RD on on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman

My Wife The Dietitian Podcast
Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

With the vegetarian movement and the push to incorporate more plant proteins, beans seem like a better alternative to tofu for many.

With the familiar kid chant rhyme “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart……”, there’s a few considerations to think about.

Beans must be good for your heart and cardiovascular system, but what about digesting them without a lot of gas and bloating?

Memories of sitting on an airplane, after eating baked beans on the last supper before flying helps imprint the memory of the embarrassing flatulence that can happen with beans.

Sit back and relax to enjoy this read, there are some clever techniques when preparing legumes that help to minimize the effects of intestinal gas.

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans Which is healthier?

Black bean burrito, Mexican black bean salsa and black bean brownies are all common recipes that incorporate these dark skinned ‘turtle beans’.

Pinto beans have a history originating from Mexico and Central America. Pinto beans (frijoles) are the main ingredient in refried beans. They are the most popular and widely used legume in Northern Mexico and Southwestern United states.

Black beans vs pinto beans……which bean is healthier is a common question people ask.

Both beans have excellent nutritional profiles for regular use in cooking, but one comes out slightly ahead for a particular health advantage. The colour gives a certain clue to that advantage.

All legumes are rich in protein, fibre, naturally low in fat and are an excellent source of folate. Folate is a necessary B vitamin to help prevent neural tube defects in newborns and hence essential in pregnancy. Folate also decreases homocysteine levels in the blood, which helps lower the dementia-causing plaque in the brain and is an important nutrient for overall brain health.

There’s evidence that beans may be a key dietary staple for longevity and aging well into older years. Five Blue Zones around the world, where a majority of the population enjoy good quality of life upwards into their hundreds indicate that eating beans at least three times per week help with this longevity. 

Legumes are the fruit or seed of plants of the legume family (such as peas or beans) used for food.

Not all legumes are beans, but all beans are considered legumes.

There are 19,000 different species of legumes and 751 genera of plants.

Common legumes are beans, lentils, peanuts and peas that grow on vines or underground.

Most types of nuts grow on trees, considered ‘tree nuts’ rather than legumes. Walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios are all nuts that grow in trees. Peanuts grow underground and are classified as a legume. Other beans and peas grow on vines too and not in trees.

Tree Nuts

Good For Your Heart

Black, pinto and other beans are loaded with nutrients. They are a good source of protein that is integral to the immune system, in addition to tissue repair, plus, healthy growth and development.

Legumes, including black beans, pinto beans and other legumes have excellent fibre content which helps lower blood cholesterol (hence, good for the heart), lowers blood pressure, helps with weight management and blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity.

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Blood Sugar Management

A 2020 meta-analysis review article in American Journal of Lifestyle Medication demonstrated that pulses have been shown to influence lipid profiles, glycemic control, and blood pressure, therefore providing a potential dietary tool for disease risk reduction, which may be particulaly beneficial among adults with diabetes. 

A 2014 study in ARYA Artherosclerosis demonstrated that 2027 participants who had frequent consumption of legumes had corresponding lower blood sugar levels. Fiber-rich beans help to slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to improve blood glucose management for people with diabetes, or those who are trying to prevent the development of prediabetes and diabetes.

blood sugar management

Weight Control

The protein and fibre content of legumes helps with satiety to manage weight. Soluble fibre bulks, gels and expands in the intestines and moves slowly through the GI tract. This helps reduce feelings of hunger and helps to prevent overeating and weight control.

Plus, studies have shown that grehlin, the hunger hormone decreases with the consumption of legumes, which helps with feelings of fullness and satiety.

Results from the National Health and Nutritional Exam Survey conducted 1999-2002 released in 2008 in the American College of Nutrition stated that bean consumption is associated with less abdominal girth aka belly fat, lower body weight and reduced risk of obesity. 

weight management

Cardiovascular Health

Beans, Beans, they’re good for your heart. With several markers of inflammation lowered with regular legume consumption, beans can help with cardiovascular health.

Nearly 10,000 men and women were followed for 19 years, and those who included legumes at least four times per week had a 22% decreased risk of coronary artery disease, plus 11% lower risk of CVD compared to those who only ate legumes less than once per week.

In a study of a subset of participants, who had diabetes in the large-scale EPIC study, intake of vegetables, fruits and legumes together was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, as well as risk of death from CVD.
Analyzed separately, the trend towards all cause mortality was true only for vegetables and legumes, but not fruit.
These studies indicate correlation not causation, but offer health incentives to include more beans in the diet.

In a study conducted at University of Saskatchewan published in the British Journal of Nutrition, 108 older adults (age 50+) were given two servings of legumes per day for two months and assessed for cardiovascular disease risk indicators compared to those who were eating their regular diets, with no beans. After two months of consuming beans daily, the subject’s cholesterol dropped. Total cholesterol by 8.3% and LDL (lousy-type) by 7.9%.
Eating beans regularly can help with blood pressure management too.

beans heart health

GI Health

Although some people may have uncomfortable intestinal gas, regular bean consumption has been shown to help reduce diverticulosis, hemmorhoids, intestinal ulcers, gastroesophaeal reflux disease (GERD) and will add bulk to stool to support bowel regularity and prevent constipation.

gi health

Legumes are mother nature’s oxymoron, creating intesintal gas for some, while protecting against diseases of the gut and GI tract for those who regularly eat them.

Lectin is a protein substance in most beans that can cause GI upset for those who eat them undercooked or raw. These toxins can be inactivated by boiling beans for as little as ten minutes. Canned legumes and soaked&boiled beans have their lectin deactivated and are safe to eat.

Reducing Flatulence

To reduce the likelihood of flatulence, rinsing canned beans prior to adding to recipes can help with ridding the fermentable polysaccharide sugars that are difficult to digest.
When cooking with pulses, or dried beans and legumes, throwing the water away that they were soaked in helps to reduce the gassy effects when eating the food made with beans.

bean soup

Spice it up

Adding spices to your bean dish will naturally help reduce the gassiness of beans.
Cilantro, cumin, bay leaves, turmeric, fennel, anise and rosemary are all herbs and spices that can help reduce the gassy effects of bean consumption, plus pair well with a variety of bean dishes.

When all else fails, adding Beano (a digestive enzyme tablet), to the mix can also aid in digestion after eating chili or baked beans.

taco salad

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

Black beans are sometimes referred to as turtle beans and are hard and nutty legumes. Adequate soaking and cooking will ensure they are ready for digestion after eating.

Pinto beans being soft and creamy, can offer a better bean to use for many of the recipes dedicated to black beans, such as hummus, tacos or burritos.

Pinto beans offer both nine grams of protein and fibre per 100 gram serving, whereas black beans offer both eight grams of protein and fiber per 100 gram serving.

Pinto beans have a good source of selenium, due in part to, where they are grown, in selenium-rich soil compared to black beans. Selenium is a micromineral that is important for immune system function and is difficult to attain in regular food consumption.

black and pinto beans

Black beans, owing to their dark black (almost purple hue) , have anthocyanins, a polyphenol healthful phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant, and can protect against cancer.

With their dark colour, black beans have a slight advantage over pinto beans in their nutritional and healthful benefits.

With pinto bean’s versatility in different dishes with their soft and creamy texture, regular consumption of pintos offer beneficial effects for health. 

As variety is the spice of life, black bean dishes can complement regular weekly pinto bean consumption in various recipes to garner the antioxidant effects.

However you use them, all beans and legumes are healthful additions to your kitchen arsenal and can add variety and flavour to your weekly repertoire. Increasing the amount of legumes in your week’s menu will help you (as they say on Star Trek) live long and prosper.

Listen in to Episode

#42 on My Wife The Dietitian to learn all about Beans on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman

My Wife The Dietitian Podcast
Fatty Liver – Put your Liver on a Diet

Fatty Liver – Put your Liver on a Diet

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver, otherwise known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) , has become a global epidemic in the last decade. One quarter to a third of the adult population in North America has fatty liver and many don’t know it. One in ten children also have it, which demonstrates that it’s not caused by alcohol intake.

Effects of Diet on Body

When the documentary “Supersize Me” was released, it showed the damage that fast food, such as fries, burgers and soft drinks can have on the body.

The cardiovascular and immune system are significantly affected by ultra-processed foods and fast foods. The liver processes toxins in our body, and when fed a big proportion of ultra-processed food with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), refined oils and sugar/sweetened beverages, our insides pay the price of those convenience foods.

There is a link with HFCS and the development of fatty liver disease. There was a study from the National Institute of Health in 2020, by Dr. Michael Karin, which demonstrated that mice developed fatty liver within a month of consuming sugary drinks   

As sugary drinks satisfy our sweet tastes, our liver and mice livers are getting fat with the sugar overload.

Many food companies use HFCS as an additive in their products as a cheap flavouring. In everyday food items, such as baked goods, cereals, pop/soft drinks, coffee flavourings, candies and cookies. Unexpectedly, it’s not just sweet foods that have HFCS, it’s also in savory items, such as pizza, salad dressings, ketchup and barbeque sauces.

Even foods that are seemingly healthy choices, such as yogurt and protein bars may have this sneaky ingredient added for flavour. If the food product is made in a factory and can be unwrapped, that’s a good indication that it may have added sweeteners that can stress our liver.

As liver specialist, Dr. Theodore Friedman, Ph.D. states,

High fructose corn syrup can lead to NAFLD by several mechanisms. It can increase the amount of fat made by the liver. It can also increase inflammation in the liver and can change how the liver metabolizes glucose. It can also increase abdominal fat.”

As the blood cholesterol and triglycerides rise, the liver cells are replaced with fat cells, which promotes liver inflammation. As fatty liver continues and develops, scarring and fibrosis occurs that will eventually lead to irreparable liver cirrhosis. 

The most common cause of death for people with fatty liver is cardiovascular and heart disease, and surprisingly, not liver disease. Fatty liver is a cardiovascular issue more than a liver problem.

Fatty Liver and Cardiovascular Link

Fatty liver is closely linked with poor diet and lifestyle, and may be an indicator of other metabolic dysfunctions happening with the circulatory system.

The diagnosis of fatty liver is an early warning sign of other systemic, internal problems developing inside. Prediabetes is a common condition that is associated with fatty liver, as there is a dysfunction that is occuring with the insulin response and blood sugars, along with elevated triglycerides. As prediabetes and fatty liver diagnoses are frequently diet related, they can be reversed through lifestyle interventions and dietary improvements.

As people who develop fatty liver may also have cardiovascular problems, a Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that can support cardiovascular health, in addition to healing the liver.


Liver Supportive Vegetables

There are foods that are supportive to the liver, and help with building, repairing and detoxifying the body cells and systems.
Cruciferous vegetables and sulfur-containing bulb foods with a phytochemical called allicin support the detoxifying actions of the liver.
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, radishes, kale, beet greens, cabbage and arugula are all vegetables that can help the liver. Garlic, onions, leeks and scallions are sulfur containing bulbs that support liver health.

Healthy Fats for Healthy Liver

One might think that a fatty liver develops from all sources of fat in the diet. This is not the case.

As the evidence is evolving, research has shown that fatty liver is more of a result of ultra-processed and fast foods. Components, such as added sugars/sweeteners, refined, processed fats and oils and deep fried foods appear to be the culprits causing the fatty liver epidemic. Changing the ratio of the diet to include more healthful fats, that are found in whole foods with omega-3, monounsaturated and other polyunsaturated fats are important fats and nutrients for liver health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish are the most abundant animal source of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. By including one to two sources of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring in the weekly diet, the amount of omega -3 fatty acids recommended will most likely be met for recommended daily intakes. These particular types of fish have lower levels of heavy metals, such as mercury and contain an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Ground flaxseeds, chia and hemp hearts will offer plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Whole foods, such as avocado, nuts and seeds, plus olive oil will provide some beneficial fats for liver and overall health.

Whole Grains for Fibre and Liver Health

95 % of the North American population is not getting the recommended amount of fibre in their daily diet. Part of the reason may be the amount of ultra-processed foods that are consumed every day. Much of the processed and packaged foods that offer convenience do not provide much in the way of fibre.

By contract, whole, minimally processed foods offer a rich source of fibre. Only plant foods have fibre. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes/beans/lentils, nuts and seeds are all healthy sources of fibre to help with cardiovascular and liver health. Fibre will help reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugars to maintain beneficial blood lipid and glucose levels.

Lose The Fat – Reversing Liver Fat

With some changes in the diet and lifestyle, it’s possible to reverse the effects of fatty liver disease and improve overall health and fitness. Including more whole, minimally processed foods daily, plant forward eating, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial fats can help improve liver and overall cardiovascular health. By reducing the fast foods and prepackaged, convenience food products, this will help with weight management and liver function and health.

To learn more about Fatty Liver – How to Put your liver on a diet, tune in to our podcast, My Wife The Dietitian Ep.39

My Wife The Dietitian Podcast