For Caregivers

Dealing with Diet Modifications

A nutritious diet can help your loved one stay as healthy as possible and play a key role in their wellbeing. A wholesome, well-balanced diet can help maintain a level of liver health and minimize further liver damage. It can also help their immune system fight off illness.

It’s important for your loved one to talk with their healthcare provider about specific diet recommendations based on their condition and response to treatment. A certified dietician or nutritionist can provide meal-planning guidance.

Some things to keep in mind include the following:

  • People with liver disease should avoid drinking alcohol. It damages liver cells and even a small amount can be harmful.
  • In the past, strict diet modification was a mainstay of liver disease management and people with HE were often told to eat a low protein diet, however, this is no longer recommended as some degree of malnutrition is often observed in people with cirrhosis and HE.
    • The body needs sufficient protein for tissue maintenance and repair. Many experts now recommend people with HE get their protein from vegetables and dairy products, rather than meat. In some cases, dietary supplements containing certain types of amino acids – the building blocks of protein – may be suggested as well.
  • Your loved one may do better eating small frequent meals, particularly if they don’t have much of an appetite. This also helps to avoid long periods of fasting.