PBC Foundation
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What foods should I avoid?

Hi, as I have just recently been diagnosed with PBC and don't see my specialist until end of Feb I was just wondering if there are any foods or drinks I should not be taking. Obviously I want to start looking after my liver as soon as possible. I am not a big alcohol drinker but realise that this is not good for the liver. I would like to avoid anything bad. Thanks for any advice.

8 Replies

In my case, I'm am avoiding sugar, milk, eggs, chocolate, bread and fats. I guess it will differ from one person to another. Also, I believe that one is one's doctor when it comes to food. Meaning, eat what makes you happy or comfortable. For example, I am obese but love sugar and cheese, and so I should not be having them in my diet but unfortunately I do. Whereas, milk and eggs and too much fat, I never liked. Chocolate, I used to like but luckily not any more.

I hope I was of help until you see your doctor, Caz1908!



I must admit to not avoiding anything, even a glass of wine.... My liver seems to be fine (I am probably stage 1 but not really sure, but there is no evidence of PBC on my liver)) and I exercise for 3 to 4 hours a week and am within normal weight range.

You have to do what feels right for you and what keeps you healthy.

Write down all your questions before you see the specialist and I hope it goes well.

Good luck



Hiya louf.

If you do have PBC then there will be cell changes within the liver apparently but currently like myself if you are doing well and your LFTs are good then let's get on with life as best as we can.

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Hi Caz1908,

I do avoid all alcohol - and strictly speaking, I don't have PBC. I just don't see the point in taking in something that is not good for you. Otherwise, a generally healthy diet should be fine. As you have diabetes (your previous post) you are presumably already versed in watching your diet. It's possible that you should have your vitamin and mineral levels carefully checked, as these can be affected by PBC, especially the fat soluble vitamins. But have them properly checked, don't start self-medicating as many vits and minerals exist in a complex feedback relationship, and too much or too little of one thing can affect the absorption of others.

The PBC Foundation pack gives advice on diet, and they would also be really good to talk to about diet given your diabetes. As I said in a previous post to you, I also think it worth mentioning, to the PBC Foundation people that your consultant told you to go away and look up PBC online, as I think that is completely unacceptable.

I hope you get sorted soon, and that your consultant is more forthcoming when you see him again in Feb. Meanwhile, try not to worry and look after yourself, spoil yourself - just not bad fatty foods and alcohol, maybe!!


I think the best things to avoid are all the processed foods. Don't leave out any food groups (unless you are actively allergic). We are omnivorous animals and designed to eat a large variety of things that all provide us with different nutrients. I also have the odd glass of wine, but in the case of alcohol it makes sense to me not to irritate my liver too much. Best of luck to you Caz. I was diagnosed over 10 years ago and don't feel any worse now than I did at the start. It is a difficult and startling piece of news to try and take in, the fact that you have PBC, but many of us trudge on for decades!



Hello Caz1908.

Well you have posted an interesting question here. You will find that everyone varies as to what we should and shouldn't have now we have PBC.

The norm from the hospital doctor who diagnosed me with PBC Dec 2010 was to just eat what I like. His words were, "The liver loves calories". He never mentioned alcohol as it had been noted that I was only an odd social drinker. I'd not had any alcohol at all since my first abnormal LFT March 2010 but I did have a thimble (!) of whisky in a pot of tea over the festive period if you can count that. My husband felt a bit cold-like in symptons so had same for medicinal. We live in a rather cold house, it had been frosty out so I decided to join him with one.

I thouight I looked after myself, never really going to the doctor pre March 2010 when I started to itch badly. I had been an advocate of food that wasn't highly processed. I hate wholegrains, plenty of fruit and vegetables and didn't actually partake of pizzas, fish and chips, take-aways, etc at all really. I had never been much of a fried food fan since leaving home at 18 (I am now 50) and I'm not overweight. I am always on the go and over my adult life I've done manual jobs in a domestic setting as well as hands on jobs in retail with very little sitting about either. I go long walks also to keep myself fit.

I think with PBC it does to me seem a bit better if we can limit the fat content. We have to have some fat in the diet as it is needed for the fat soluble vitamins like A and D (the latter we can be insufficient in, especially in the UK with not much sun where we can get it from the best). I still have milk with cereal (porridge mainly) and I do eat eggs, often boiled. Bread I do but not overly much of. I definitely agree with Batatis regarding sugar though if you are going to have a 'fizzy drink' then to me it is far better having one with sugar as opposed to the artificial sweeteners. (I have never been a fan of fizzy drinks myself so I have no problem there as rarely have.)

I make most of my meals from scratch. That way you know what is going in the meals you eat. I own a juicer, a citrus squeezer and also a hand blender so I can turn fruit and veg into smoothies or juice. Last week I made a juice of beetroot and apple. Beetroot is said to be high in iron. I go for quality as opposed to quantity myself.

I find I don't eat large meals and for me morning and early afternoon seem to be the best times I feel hungry as opposed to early evening when I often find I don't feel hungry at all so only have a small portion for the evening meal. I find I don't tend to eat anything following the evening meal until the following day. I somehow feel for me this seems better and it gives my system the time to process the day's food/liquid intake and then have a bit of respite.

Apparently it is only in a late stage of PBC when it would be needed to alter the diet according to what information I have read on PBC and also liver conditions. British Liver Trust website have a leaflet on diet in liver disorders you can download. There is also a mention in the PBC Foundation Compendium that if you've not got the printed version, check online, if you made yourself a member you can look at it on there in the Members Section.

Basically I just get on with life and if I think something is OK then I will have it. I think I tend to just be going how I wa pre-PBC and on reflection my LFTs and GGT are not doing so badly 4yrs on with urso.


To the level that I can (I am not the cook in the house!) I eat as much fresh fruits and vegetables as I can. I try to keep it to whole grains and also to have fish twice a week in the meal plans. I use baked or grilled instead of fried when possible when preparing the meats, and I have not limited myself to just chicken, turkey and fish. I have dropped the alcoholic drinks, but only used them 3-4 times a year so that wasn't a problem for me. I use yogurt or keifer daily to keep the digestive system supplied with good bacteria. Beyond that, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated...it really helps slow down the fatigue for me. When I am shopping, I check the ingredients of everything in boxes, bags, or cans. If I can't pronounce the words, I don't buy it since there are too many processed items. I have found that with some determined searching, there are alternatives without the preservatives found in so many foods today. These are the changes I have made since being diagnosed 7 months ago. Best wishes!


Thanks for all the advice. I really just want to live a normal life and not let it restrict me too much. If I eat healthily then hopefully I won't run in to too many problems.


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