Each month, a registered dietician from the NHS, visits LASS to offer helpful advice and information on food nutrition and healthy eating for people who live with HIV. Our next session “The Truth About Fats” will be on Friday, 16th September 2011 from 12:00pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and speak with the dietitian directly about any concerns you may have.
Good nutrition can be a problem for many people with HIV. When your body fights any infection, it uses more energy and you need to eat more than normal. But when you feel sick, you eat less than normal, good diets and nutrition help many people living HIV feel healthier.
Studies have found that people living with HIV with a healthy diet and good nutritional status can better tolerate HIV drugs, maintain weight and muscle mass more easily, and feel better overall.
Nutrients are things like fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other important chemicals. You need proper levels of different nutrients in order to build and repair cells, keep hormones regulated, fight infection, and maintain energy levels. For the most part, we can’t make nutrients. We get what we need from food and (when that’s not possible) dietary supplements.
Good nutrition depends on many things, including:
- What you’re eating (how much, what type of food, etc.)
- How you digest and absorb nutrients
- How different parts of your body use these nutrients
HIV-related changes in any of these factors can affect your nutritional status. Over time, this can lead to a variety of nutritional problems, including:
- Weight loss
- Muscle wasting
- High levels of fats and sugars in the blood
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Many of these HIV-related problems can be avoided, or partially managed, using nutritional strategies.