Introduction

Some people with severe
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-especially those with
emphysema-may be underweight and malnourished.

  • People with COPD often lose weight. When you
    lose weight, you lose muscle mass, including the muscles that help you breathe.
    This may make breathing more difficult.
  • Some people
    with COPD weigh too little for good health. It’s dangerous to become very
    underweight.
  • To avoid losing weight and muscle mass, you
    generally need to eat more foods containing fat and protein. Because eating too
    much fat and targeting certain nutrients (such as protein) may have health
    risks, always consult with your doctor or a
    registered dietitian before eating more of these foods
    to gain weight.

How do I avoid weight loss in COPD?

If you are
beginning to lose weight and muscle mass, you probably need to eat more protein
and get more calories. This generally means eating more foods containing fat
and protein. Because eating too much fat and targeting certain nutrients (such
as protein) may have health risks, always consult with your doctor or a
registered dietitian before eating more of these foods
to gain weight.

High-calorie, nutritious snacks

Foods that can
help you add nutritious calories to your diet include:

  • Ice
    cream.
  • Pudding.
  • Cheese.
  • Granola
    bars.
  • Custard.
  • Nachos with
    cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Crackers with peanut
    butter.
  • Bagels with peanut butter or cream
    cheese.
  • Cereal with half and half.
  • Popcorn with
    margarine and Parmesan cheese.
  • High-calorie nutritional
    supplements, such as nutrition shakes.

Adding calories to a meal or snack

Adding the
following foods to meals or snacks can help you add calories and protein to
your diet.

  • Add an egg or egg yolk to meat loaf, macaroni
    and cheese, or similar foods. Be sure to cook the food after adding the
    egg.
  • Add powdered milk to creamed soups, scrambled eggs, pudding,
    potatoes, yogurt, and casseroles.
  • Add cheese to sandwiches,
    crackers, casseroles, soups, toast, and pasta.
  • Add an extra
    tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, or
    sour cream to sandwiches, bread, casseroles, soups, cooked cereals, pasta,
    potatoes, rice, or vegetables.
  • Grind up some nuts and sprinkle the
    dust on puddings, gravy, mashed potatoes, casseroles, salads, and
    yogurt.

Adding protein to your diet

Milk, milk products,
and meats are high in protein. Try to eat more of these foods, or:

  • Add skim milk powder to milk, cold cereals,
    scrambled eggs, soups, and ground meat.
  • Add cheese or peanut butter
    to snacks.
  • Choose desserts that use eggs, such as sponge cake, egg
    custard, and rice pudding.
  • Use nutritional supplements high in
    protein, such as nutrition shakes.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD – Pulmonology

Current as ofMarch 25, 2017