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.
with COPD weigh too little for good health. It’s dangerous to become very
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:
Crackers with peanut
Bagels with peanut butter or cream
Cereal with half and half.
margarine and Parmesan cheese.
supplements, such as nutrition shakes.
Adding calories to a meal or snack
following foods to meals or snacks can help you add calories and protein to
Add an egg or egg yolk to meat loaf, macaroni
and cheese, or similar foods. Be sure to cook the food after adding the
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
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
Choose desserts that use eggs, such as sponge cake, egg
custard, and rice pudding.
Use nutritional supplements high in
protein, such as nutrition shakes.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKen Y. Yoneda, MD – Pulmonology