Nutrition is an essential part of daily CF care and studies have shown that people with CF who maintain their weight and nutritional status have better overall health outcomes and higher lung function. Nutrition can be broken down into four main elements: eating a high calorie diet, pancreatic enzyme support, enteral tube feedings and managing CF related diabetes. 

High Caloric Intake

People with CF have to consume more calories on a daily basis than the average individual to maintain their weight and also for the extra energy they require to breathe, fight infections and to make up for poor digestion. However, a higher calorie diet should also be a healthy diet. It is important for those with CF to eat highly nutritious, well balanced meals.  In addition to regular meals, nutritional supplements are taken by people with CF to give them an extra calorie boost. 

Pancreatic Enzymes

The vast majority of people with CF are considered pancreatic insufficient, which means that they cannot absorb their food and nutrients properly. Because of this, they need extra help with digestion and absorption using pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). There are different pancreatic enzymes available to those with CF, make sure to consult your physician to figure out which one is best for you.

Feeding Tubes 

Despite their best intentions, some people with CF are not able to consume enough calories to maintain their desired weight and growth and may choose to get a feeding tube. A feeding tube provides the means to get extra calories and nutrients while the person sleeps. 

CF Related Diabetes (CFRD)  

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is a unique type of diabetes that is common in people with CF. While CFRD is not the same things as type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it shares some of the same features. In people with CF, there is scarring of the pancreas that is caused by the thick, sticky mucus that accumulates in the body which prevents the pancreas from producing normal insulin levels. The pancreas may still produce some insulin, but not enough to function optimally. Also, for individuals with CFRD, their bodies may not respond to insulin the appropriate way especially during times of exacerbation or when taking certain medications. 
People with CF are tested for diabetes regularly, and with early diagnosis and proper treatment, CFRD can be managed successfully.



Check out our Cooking with Kim section for ideas and recipes that are perfect for CF-friendly diets.

CF-friendly Recipes


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