Dietary advice for people starting treatment for Hepatitis C. Information for patients Sheffield Dietetics

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1 Dietary advice for people starting treatment for Hepatitis C Information for patients Sheffield Dietetics

2 Do I need to follow a special diet? You don t need to have a special diet but you should try and eat a healthy well balanced diet. There is no need to avoid specific foods if you have Hepatitis C unless advised to by your doctor. They would then refer you to a dietitian for further advice and support. What is a healthy, well balanced diet? It is important to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure you get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need Aim to eat: Plenty of fruits and vegetables (tinned and frozen are as good as fresh) Plenty of bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta. Try and choose higher fibre varieties when you can for example wholemeal or granary bread, bran flakes Have some milk and/or yogurt every day (choose lower fat varieties such as semi-skimmed milk, low fat yogurts) Eat foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs or beans twice a day Only eat small amounts of fatty, sugary foods such as cakes, crisps and pies (unless you have a poor appetite or are trying to gain weight) For more advice on healthy eating see the leaflet 'Healthy eating on a budget'. Why is a healthy weight important? It is important for everyone to aim to keep their weight within the range that is healthy for their height. page 2 of 8

3 What is a healthy weight? Body mass Index (BMI) is a measure used to indicate if your weight is in the healthy range for your height. Your BMI can be worked out when you attend clinic, ask your doctor or nurse to tell you what yours is. BMI can be categorised into ranges that indicate how healthy your weight is for your height. BMI categories for adults Under-weight Ideal weight Over weight When preparing for treatment it is especially important to aim to be within the healthy weight range, or as close to it as possible. If you are overweight or obese Obese Morbidly obese Less than more than 40 Research has shown that people with a BMI over 30 have a poorer chance of successful treatment than people with a BMI in the healthy range. Being obese can also put you at increased risk of other forms of liver disease. If you are overweight it may be worth considering trying to lose some weight in preparation for treatment. Following the healthy eating tips above and taking regular exercise is a good starting point. If you would like further help and advice about healthy weight loss ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to a dietitian. page 3 of 8

4 If you are underweight Being underweight can reduce your strength and energy levels and impair your immune system. A common side effect of Hepatitis C treatment is unintentional weight loss. So it is good to aim to reach a healthy weight in preparation for treatment. If you think you need to gain some weight discuss this with your nurse or doctor and use the advice in this leaflet on eating extra snacks. You may need further advice from a dietitian to help you with weight gain. Dietary advice during treatment When taking Hepatitis C treatment some people experience side effects which can cause a decreased appetite and weight loss. What can I do to help prevent this? Try and eat regularly throughout the day. Have breakfast, dinner and tea Try not to miss meals Have snacks in between meals such as yogurts, toast, cheese and biscuits If you cannot face eating a meal do not go without. Have a snack or nourishing drink instead page 4 of 8

5 What if I lose my appetite and don t feel like eating? Try eating small snacks instead of meals. Aim for 5-6 snacks each day. These could include: Sandwiches - fill with meat, bacon, cheese, egg, chicken tinned fish or peanut butter Cheese on toast Cheese and biscuits Soup and bread Thick and creamy yogurts or mousses Bowl of cereal Baked beans or tinned spaghetti or ravioli on toast Scrambled/fried/poached eggs on toast Crumpet, scone or teacake with margarine or butter and jam Nourishing drinks milkshakes, milky coffee Tinned fruit and ice-cream or custard Rice pudding Fruit cake, malt loaf, individual fruit pies/tarts page 5 of 8

6 What if I am feeling nauseous and/or vomiting? What should I do? It can be difficult to eat when you feel sick but try and eat small frequent snacks. Having an empty stomach can often make nausea worse. Foods containing ginger can sometimes help reduce nausea Try eating ginger biscuits or drinking ginger beer/ale Nibble on dry crackers, toast or plain biscuits Sipping fizzy drinks through a straw may help reduce nausea Avoid cooking smells if they make you feel worse. Stay out of the kitchen while food is being cooked or eat cold foods such as sandwiches, yogurts, breakfast cereal, cheese and crackers. Make use of the times when you do not feel nauseous to eat or to prepare foods for later in the day Tell your doctor or nurse. Tablets can be prescribed to help if necessary. page 6 of 8

7 What if I lose weight without meaning to? What can I eat to help? Try and eat frequently, meals and snacks Use one pint of full fat milk every day. Add to cereal, drinks or make milkshakes and milky coffee Drink ready made flavoured milkshakes Have a bedtime snack. Toast or a teacake with margarine and jam or marmalade, breakfast cereal with milk or a milky drink and some biscuits Choose full fat products such as yogurts and cheese Use plenty of butter or margarine. Spread thickly on bread and toast. Add to potatoes and vegetables at the table Snack on fatty, sugary foods such as cakes, biscuits and chocolate in between meals See snack ideas on the previous page I would like more advice and information. Who can I go to? Ask your nurse or doctor at clinic to refer you to the dietitian. page 7 of 8

8 Produced with support from Sheffield Hospitals Charity Working hard to fund improvements that make life better for patients and their families Please donate to help us do more Registered Charity No organdonation.nhs.uk Alternative formats may be available on request. Please Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2014 Re-use of all or any part of this document is governed by copyright and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No Information on re-use can be obtained from the Information Governance Department, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. PD5271-PIL1740 v3 Issue Date: October Review Date: October 2016

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