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ILD Nutrition Manual:
Tips for Gaining Weight

People with chronic lung disease use lots of energy to breathe — they can burn 10 times more calories just breathing than someone without chronic lung disease. To prevent unwanted weight loss, follow the guidelines below, as well as those in the General Guidelines for Eating Healthy with Chronic Lung Disease. In addition to preventing weight loss, proper nutrition helps prevent infection, facilitate breathing and maintain a healthy respiratory system.

  • Eat a high-calorie, high-protein diet. Concentrate on foods that are calorie-dense but healthy. See our sample week's high-calorie, high-protein meal plan for ideas.

  • Add an extra 250 to 500 calories per day. This is how much people losing weight need. See our recipes for high-calorie, healthy snacks to get ideas for how to add these additional calories to your diet.

  • Avoid drinking lots of fluids with meals. Fluids may make you feel full and prevent you from consuming the calories you need.

  • Consume a high-calorie nutritional drink. Nutritional beverages such as Ensure or Boost can help add healthy calories to your diet.

If you're still not getting enough calories, take a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

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Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.