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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
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Eating sugar vs. wasting
Nov 15, 2002

I have been living with AIDS (Baseline CD4 170 & VL 159,000) for about two years. I'm currently UD and my CD4's are 500+. I'm on Trizivir. I'm having terrible problems keeping my weight up. I was trying to eat a "heart-healthy" diet by avoiding too much sugar and grease but I got so skinny that I was forced to begin eating high calorie foods, including sweets. My doctor put me on oxandrin and told me to EAT anything and everything to avoid too much loss of critical body mass. My questions is this: In a case like mine, is it better to eat some "unhealthy" high calories foods like sweets and keep the weight up, or is it best to eat "healthy" foods and keep losing body weight and fat in my face? The situation is ironic isn't it? Fatty and sweet foods are the only thing that are keeping me from wasting away, but at the same time, they can also put me at great risks for heart & other problems. I know several people with HIV who have similar problems. How do you not "waste away" if your lipids and sugar levels require you to eat a restrictive diet?

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

It is never a good idea to waste unintentionally. The first recommendation I have for you is to get a referral to a dietitian who can help you to sort this out. No doubt there are problems to triage (prioritize). Undesirable weight loss is very high on the list!

There are lower fat and generally healthier foods that are calorie dense to explore. A dietitian can help you with practical and reasonable choices as well as help you walk the line between healthy and "junk" eating.

It is likely to be a process rather than a one-shot deal because it sounds like you will have to first stabilize any weight loss, return to a good weight and body composition for you, and then pursue healthier avenues to maintain weight and good lab values.

Best wishes in the work ahead!

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