People with CF require more calories than others because food and nutrients are not digested and absorbed normally. It is very important for anyone with CF to eat a well-balanced diet that includes adequate protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Your dietitian will share ways to increase calories, protein and fat in the diet to meet your nutrition needs. Your CF dietitian will work with your care team to prescribe pancreatic enzymes to digest your food if you require them. One or more of the following may also be recommended for you or your child:
- High-calorie supplements or shakes containing additional nutrients to increase calories
- Extra fluids and salt during times of hot weather or high activity to replace salt lost in sweat and prevent dehydration
- Nutritional support in the form of tube feeding or IV nutrition
When it is difficult to meet you or your child’s nutrition needs from eating alone, we will discuss the possible need for supplemental nutrition support. Nutrition support is another tool to keep you or your child as healthy as possible. A feeding tube allows your team to provide you additional calories and protein when you aren’t eating. For instance, calories and protein can be infused through a feeding tube during the night when you or your child is asleep. A feeding tube may be placed temporarily into the nose and throat. If needed longer term, a tube can be placed directly into the stomach through an opening that a surgeon can make. The tube is then connected to a bag of nutritional formula that enters the body slowly to provide calories and nutrients. If you or your child is unable to eat or receive tube feeding safely, your dietitian and care team will consider IV nutrition given through a vein. This is called parenteral nutrition.