Protect your liver and promote optimal metabolic health | Alan Flanagan, PhD

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of those health conditions that, while incredibly common, doesn’t often make it to our dinner-table conversations. But as a highly prevalent condition globally, understanding NAFLD becomes crucial not just for ourselves, but also to support our friends and family. Join me in Episode #281 as I sit down with Alan Flanagan, PhD for a deep dive on this topic.

“A relative reduction in the level of fat in the liver of up to 45% could be potentially achieved with a weight loss of 7% of initial body weight.”

Dr Alan Flanagan, PhD, is a renowned voice in the field of nutrition, holding an MSc and PhD from the University of Surrey. Beyond his academic achievements, Alan’s commitment to imparting impartial, evidence-based nutrition insights shines through his work as the founder of Alinea Nutrition and as Research Communication Officer for Sigma Nutrition. In today’s episode, Dr Flanagan offers his insight into the intricacies of NAFLD, leveraging his extensive knowledge to provide clarity on this widespread health condition.

“Individuals can still accumulate fat in the liver that is – relative to their body size – potentially not around the levels that we might currently diagnose fatty liver as, but still represents quite a high burden of triglycerides in the liver.”

Learn about the complexities of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as Dr Flanagan breaks down its definition, its prevalence, and its profound impact on metabolic health. Listeners will gain an understanding of the risk factors associated with NAFLD, its link to conditions like type 2 diabetes, and practical lifestyle and dietary interventions that can both prevent and potentially reverse its progression.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Introduction to Fatty Liver Disease (00:00)
  • Understanding Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Its Development (02:27)
  • Risk Factors: Gender Differences in Fatty Liver Disease Development (09:33)
  • The Science of Hepatic Fat Oxidation (14:45)
  • Consequences and Effects of Fatty Liver Disease (20:25)
  • Identifying Symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (25:54)
  • Risk Assessment: Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Premenopausal Women (29:33)
  • Energy Toxicity and Misconceptions about BMI (34:50)
  • Linking Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Type 2 Diabetes (48:34)
  • Liver Changes During Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Progression (1:02:16)
  • Strategies for Reducing Fat Accumulation in the Liver (1:05:28)
  • The Role of Time-Restricted Eating in Managing Fatty Liver Disease (1:11:41)
  • The Impact of Sugars on Fatty Liver Disease (1:20:16)
  • Understanding the Relationship Between Dietary Fats and Fatty Liver Disease (1:41:16)
  • High Saturated Fat Diets and Their Effect on Fatty Liver Disease (1:57:19)
  • Importance of Caloric Source Variation in Dietary Fats (1:59:23)
  • Beneficial Dietary Patterns for Liver Health (2:04:07)
  • Analysing Dairy Types and Their Effects on Liver Fat (2:08:29)
  • Meal Frequency and Its Relation to Liver Fat Accumulation (2:12:40)
  • Recommended Lifestyle Changes for Preventing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (2:17:59)
  • Conclusion: Key Takeaways on Fatty Liver Disease Management (2:20:07)

This episode examines a topic that is likely relevant for many of us personally or for someone we know. With Dr Flanagan’s insights, I hope you feel empowered with knowledge and actionable steps to take control of your metabolic health. Remember, every step we take towards understanding is a step closer to a healthier future for ourselves and for those we care about.

Connect with Alan Flanagan on Instagram, and learn more about his company, Alinea Nutrition, here. Make sure to listen to his five previous appearances on The Proof here.

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Alan Flanagan, PhD

Dr Alan Flanagan, PhD, holds an MSc and PhD in nutrition from the University of Surrey, and is a former practicing Lawyer (Barrister) from Dublin, Ireland. Alan is the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. Alan is also Research Communication Officer for Sigma Nutrition, creating educational resources for nutrition science. Originally a lawyer by background in Dublin, Ireland, Alan spent a decade practicing as a barrister before moving into science.

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