The building-up diet
During and after cancer treatment, many people find it difficult to eat enough to maintain their weight. Some people lose weight as a result of the cancer or its treatment.
This section has suggestions on how to help boost your energy and protein intake when your appetite is poor. It explains healthy eating and how foods are used in our bodies. There are sample menus, and a suggested shopping list of items that may help when preparing meals.
Changes to your appetite and weight
Many people with cancer find that there are times when they can’t eat as much as usual, and sometimes they lose weight.
There are lots of reasons for this: it can be related to the cancer itself, or to the side effects of different treatments. Some people find that they don’t feel hungry, or that they feel full soon after starting a meal. Other people find that food makes them feel sick (nausea), or that their treatment makes some foods taste different.
Some types of cancer make your body use up more energy, even if you’re not very active. This can make you lose weight, even though you may still be eating well.
What is the building-up diet
Qualified dietitians are experts in assessing the food needs of people who are ill. They can review your diet and take into account any specialist dietary requirements you may have. They can advise you on which foods are best for you, and also whether any food supplements may be helpful.
People who are finding it difficult to eat enough, especially if they’re losing weight, need to find ways to get more energy and protein in their diet. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend foods that you would normally think of as unhealthy.
The building-up diet is high in energy and protein. It is specifically for people who have lost, or are losing, weight or who can only manage to eat a little. Not everyone will be able to put on weight with this diet, but it should help to slow down, or stop, further weight loss.
Get tips for coping with a poor appetite.