Liver and bacon : Hi I was just... - British Liver Trust

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Liver and bacon

Sexy1971 profile image
Sexy1971

Hi I was just wondering if anyone knows if you can have liver and bacon with cirrhosis because I love it but not sure if I can have it also the same with bacon and onion suet pudding thanks Mary

21 Replies

I am not sure if I could face eating it, but I have read that it is very good for increasing your platelets. I am sure that talking to a dietitian would put your mind at rest.

Hi - I can’t see any reason why not. Like everything else it’s good to have a varied diet and as long as you don’t have this every day then I can’t see any reason why not.

Any doubts as TT has said ask to see a dietitian - I was referred to one before my TP and got lots of good advice - for me it was more a question of taking on more protein, however, little and often was the advice since when you have a cirrhotic liver it’s not able to store as much glucose as a normal liver so needs constant topping up.

However, everyone is different so ask to be referred to a dietitian for the best advice for you.

If you have any further questions please ask or DM me and I’m happy to share my experiences - all the best Peter

Hi Peter_Plymouth I'm waiting to see a dietian but I was just wondering if you can because I don't eat much at the moment as not really sure what I can have and what I can't because like you said everyone is different thanks Mary x

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Sexy1971

Did you read the PM I sent you in the 'chat' some time ago? It would give you a good run down of good foods to eat if weight is falling off you. Eat what you want at the moment - anything is better than nothing (you'll be amazed at the pre-transplant diet for folks - weight watchers in reverse). Just watch the salt content and obviously bacon everyday would be lots of salt so you can have it just not loads and loads.

Sexy1971 profile image
Sexy1971 in reply to AyrshireK

Hi Ayrshirek thanks for for the pm I have printed it off so I can see what I can have and I don't have salt on my meals like I used to bacon I only have now and again thanks Mary

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Sexy1971

My hubby certainly has the odd bit of bacon every so often. He's had to give up so much due to liver disease he has to enjoy his food at least.

Curious to know your description of 'weight falling off' as I have lost 17 lbs (or just over a stone, I believe) over the past 6 weeks or so. I too have issues eating.

This is something you would need to get checked out as that is pretty rapid weight loss.

When someone has advanced liver disease the liver can no longer store and release energy from food so it will source fuel from your muscles leading to significant weight loss and muscle wastage. In cases like this the advice is to eat little and often with both carbs and protein.

When your liver is not working well or when you have liver disease, your body needs extra energy (calories) and protein. This is because sometimes your body cannot digest and absorb its food properly and therefore is unable to store and use energy.

Malnutrition (weight loss and muscle wasting) is common in people with liver disease.

Malnutrition has many causes, including decreased food intake due to liver disease symptoms such as:

- Loss of appetite

- Nausea and vomiting

- Feeling full easily which may be due to ascites (fluid collecting around your middle)

- Unnecessary or inappropriate dietary restrictions.

Good nutrition is vital to overcome symptoms of liver disease, by:

- Stopping muscle wasting and feeling weak

- Maintaining strength and mobility

- Reducing hospital admissions

- Helping wounds heal more quickly

- Speeding up recovery from operations and infections

- Helping to prevent ascites and encephalopathy (confusion caused by liver disease) getting worse.

Carbohydrate

When you eat starchy carbohydrate it is broken down into sugar (glucose). This is your body’s main energy source. Some of this energy is stored in your muscles and liver as a starch called glycogen. This is a back-up energy store to be used later when it is needed, between meals, if you have missed a meal or during a long fast such as overnight.

The liver co-ordinates the release of this energy until you next have something to eat; these energy stores are then replaced at your next meal. If the liver is not working properly and you develop liver disease symptoms, the liver cannot replace this store.

The energy from the food you eat only lasts for 2 hours. If you have liver disease and have no energy stores, your body must find an alternative source of energy after this time. Fat tissue is hard to break down quickly, so instead your body will break down its own muscles for energy. If this continues, your muscles will get weaker and waste away.

It is important that you try and eat regular meals and snacks containing carbohydrate every 2-3 hours.

To prevent muscle being used for energy and to keep you strong, it is important to ‘re-fuel’ your body regularly. Eating meals and snacks containing starchy carbohydrate every 2-3 hours provides enough energy to stop your body breaking down its own muscles.

Thank you AyershireK and PoppyPiper. I have had some big issues lately and have seen my gastrointerologist, had a referral to a hepatologist and have visited with my hematologist, cardiologist, rheumatologist and pulminologist since the start of the new year. While we've discussed the sudden weight loss, I've just started to notice the muscle loss since those appointments and can feel my bones protruding,though I am still slighly over my preferred weight. My meld score is relatively low (not on the list yet) but I want to be as proactive as I can, especially since eating has become a huge challenge. I appreciate your information and sharing your experiences.

PoppyPiper profile image
PoppyPiper in reply to AyrshireK

Pre-Transplant Diet - you made me smile, my husband called it the pizza and cheesecake diet. Full fat milk and yoghurt, unsalted butter and peanut butter. Just little bits at a time to try and put weight on along with the healthy carbs and protein.

Post Transplant and 1 lockdown later had to head to Slimming World to loose weight!

PP

Hello Sexy1971, I think an element of caution might be needed here.

When I had my cirrhosis I asked my then consultant if I should be taking any supplementary medicines in order to help my liver. I knew that the liver was a rich source of iron. I asked if taking iron supplements.

He told me that in some cases there can be more iron in a damaged liver than in a healthy one. On the other side of the scale, liver damage can also cause a person to become anemic due to a lack of iron. Too much iron can do even more damage to the liver, and cause the following symptoms.

Constipation, feeling sick, being sick, stomach pain.

Eating liver and bacon might not be a good idea if your liver already has too much iron.

Just thought I'd point this out.

Richard

I would check with your GP. I had a huge amount of iron, they suspected hemachromatosis because of the amount of iron I had. So things like this and even cereals that had iron I was not allowed to eat. Also bacon is very salty, maybe if you soak the bacon as you would a gammon joint it would take a lot of the salt out but it is something I really moss but will never eat again. I had lost a lot of weight, I looked very anorexic. My dietician gave me a plan which consisted of 6 very small meals a say. Things such as oats, wholegrain bread, chicken, beans and pulses, vegetables, protein shakes. So breakfast was porridge with fruit, chia seeds, mixed seeds. Lunch was a sandwich (i only had 1 slice of bread as my stomach couldn’t take more) with maybe chicken salad or a salad with chicken and beans. Evening meal was vegetables with again either chicken or beans or even a curry/chilli/bolognese with lentils, chick peas and any other beans. Or wholegrain wrap with salad and bolognese. Snacks in between were protein shakes, fruit, vegetables, hummus, greek yoghurt, 3 walnuts, 3 eggs a week, boiled or poached. I hope that helps.

Obviously this diet was given to me because I needed a lot of protein to build me back up and I couldn’t have iron. Your body may need different foods.

There are some foods which have a huge amount of salt in them, which you'd never suspect. Maybe bacon falls in to this category... Have you currently got any Ascites or Edema? Just be extra careful if you have.

I don’t eat bacon because it’s loaded with sodium, and the biggest enemy you have as someone with cirrhosis is sodium. That being said, if you eat very little and only on occasion it would be fine. I just decided to walk away from it however

What you should eat depends on the stage and the cause of your cirrhosis. As others have said, if you are having trouble keeping weight on (see Ayshire's comments), you probably will benefit from eating more hearty foods and bacon may not hurt you, so long of course as it is not too salty. A cirrhotic liver, no matter the stage, has trouble managing the salt when in excess. My liver disease was caused by an autoimmune condition so I am not forbidden to eat bacon but I choose to eat plant-based which helps my condition (though I used to love bacon!). If your cirrhosis was caused by fatty liver disease, then your doctor/nutritionist may counsel you to avoid eating too much fat or even too much sugar for that matter, so check with them about the bacon. The point is, as jazzjam said, your diet must be tailored to your body and your particular disease state. Best of luck to you.

Hi onesmallstep1969. I am at the compensated stage at the moment and losing a lb-2lb a week I have spoken to my doctor and all they said is to wait and see a dietian which I have been waiting for since September last year so basically I don't have a clue what to do or to eat because like Ayrshire said everyone is different but I have been reading the bit that Ayrshire sent so I have been having some of the bits that is on there which has helped me but after a meal I feel full and can't eat anything after wards for a good few hours I have breakfast about 9.00-10am and then I will have a bit of cake or bit of fruit at lunch time and then I will have my tea and 6 and then a small snack at about 10pm before I go to bed that is how much I can eat in a day thanks Mary

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to Sexy1971

Hi. Muscle wastage may also be contributing to your weightloss due to your illness, so if you can manage to do some weight bearing exercise each day, it will help you build up your strength and maintain muscle mass. Laura

jazzjam profile image
jazzjam in reply to laura53923

Totally agree with this, I had huge muscle wastage, I couldn’t walk up one step as I wasn’t strong enough. I started walking and slowly tried weights, literally from 1Ib up. With the very small 6 meals and high protein I am now a healthy weight.

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to jazzjam

Fantastic well done x

Never add salt on your food at the table, but you can add pepper, garlic and herbs etc. as normal. So why not experiment with other different seasonings instead...

Just another thought...in conjunction with not using the salt shaker, be sure to read all labels on foods as many are naturally salty. And especially, processed foods.

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