Discussions with a Dietitian: Sugary Foods

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 “Sugary Foods” will be on Friday, 21st October 2011 from 12:00pm.  This is an opportunity to ask questions and speak with the dietitian directly about any concerns you may have.

What we eat affects our overall health. Food can help the body to fight infections. It also provides energy so that we can carry on leading active lives.

Eating healthily can prevent weight loss or weight gain. It can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, which helps to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Food can also help control some of the side-effects of medication.

This means that good nutrition is an important part of living well with HIV.

The challenge of change

When we first found out we had HIV, some of us realised that our diet was really unhealthy. But the thought of having to completely change our eating habits filled us with dread. It seemed such a big change.

But by making small, gradual changes, such as swapping white bread for brown, or by eating one piece of fruit each morning, it’s possible to start eating better. You could use THT’s ‘planning and managing change tool’ to help you.

What should we eat?

So what does eating healthily actually mean? For us it means eating like this.

Lots of:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • bread, cereals, potatoes and other carbohydrates

Moderate amounts of:

  • meat, fish and other proteins, such as eggs
  • milk and diary products

Less of:

  • foods that are high in fat, sugar and/or salt.
 Food type What we should know
Fruit and vegetables Ideally we should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day with a mix of different colours. They don’t have to be fresh; frozen or canned are fine too.
Bread, cereals, potatoes and other carbohydrates Carbs should form the core of your meals. If you eat wholemeal, brown and high-fibre versions, they’ll keep you going for longer.
Meat, fish and other proteins, such as eggs Keep meat as lean as possible by cutting off visible fat and skin off the meat.
Milk and diary products Choose low fat versions where possible.
Foods high in fat High fat foods include butter, margarine, crisps, cakes and biscuits.
Food high in sugar Sugary foods include sweets, jam, cakes, puddings and most fizzy drinks.
Foods high in salt Check the labels on food for salt or sodium content.

 Get help from your clinic’s dietician

Most HIV clinics have a specialist dietician or nutritionist. If you ask to see one, they can give you detailed advice tailored to your needs and circumstances. They can also give you advice on taking vitamins and supplements or why not come to LASS on Friday 21st for our talk.

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