Nutritional Rules For HIV Patients

When infected with the HIV virus the body’s defence system – the immune system – works harder to fight infection. This increases energy and nutrient requirements. Further infection and fever also increase the body’s demand for food.

One of the consequences of HIV and other infections is that since the gut wall is damaged, food does not pass through properly and is consequently not absorbed. Diarrhoea is a common occurrence in people with HIV/AIDS. When a woman has diarrhoea the food passes through the gut so quickly that it is not properly digested and fewer nutrients are absorbed. Reduced food intake and absorption lead to weight loss and malnutrition. One of the possible signs of the onset of clinical AIDS is a weight loss of about 6-7 kg for an average adult. When a person is already underweight, a further weight loss can have serious effects.

Problems can be related to HIV infection itself and to the effects of anti-HIV therapy, also called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy).

Check out the Nutritional Rules.

Nutritional Rules For HIV Patients

  • Eat more staple foods such as rice, maize, millet, sorghum, wheat, bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and bananas.
  • Increase intake of beans, soy products, lentils, peas, groundnuts, peanut butter and seeds, such as sunflower and sesame.
  • Include all forms of meat, poultry, fish and eggs as often as possible. Minced meat, chicken and fish are easier to digest. Offal (such as kidney and liver) can be the least expensive source.
  • Eat snacks regularly between meals. Good snacks are nuts, seeds, fruit, yoghurt, carrots, cassava crisps, crab crisps and peanut butter sandwiches. With at least three meals a day and snacks in between, there is less likelihood of malnutrition or weight loss.
  • Slowly increase the fat content of the food by using more fats and oils, as well as eating fatty foods – oilseeds such as groundnuts, soy and sesame, avocados and fatty meat. If problems with a high fat intake are experienced (especially diarrhoea), reduce the fat intake until the symptoms are over and then gradually increase it to a level that the body can tolerate.
  • Introduce more dairy products such as full-cream milk, sour milk, buttermilk, yoghurt and cheese into the diet.
  • Add dry milk powder to foods such as porridge, cereals, sauces and mashed potatoes. However, do not use coffee and tea whiteners, which do not have the same nutritional benefits as milk. Note that some people may find milk difficult to digest. It should be avoided if it causes cramps, a feeling of being full or skin rashes.
  • Add sugar, honey, jam, syrup and other sweet products to the food.
  • Make meals as attractive as possible.

Caretakers should ensure that sick members of the family are given preference, fed more frequently and receive extra servings to maintain their weight and strength. Food should be served in an attractive way.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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4 Ways to Prevent Nutritional Deficiencies

Reducing nutritional deficiencies is a huge step that people forget to think about. When trying to lose fat and build muscle, most of us want to know what to cut out and what we should be eating. We want to cut carbs and sugar, eat more veggies, a lot more protein, only eat raw…and the list goes on.

We’ll dispense with a few more examples of common questions that plague gym-goers:

Adjusting Your Diet

Should I go high-carb or low-carb? High protein or moderate protein? Protein shakes, or only whole food? Should I eat every 2-3 hours, or just 3-meals  a day? Does Paleo or going Vegan work for bodybuilders?

While all of these may sound like good ideas – a few of them have some redeeming value – they don’t attack the problem with most people. There is no perfect diet, but all of the example diets above do hold a tremendous amount of educational value.

Dr. John Berardi has researched and found studies that show the majority of people, even the so called “perfect” eaters and athletes, can be deficient in many nutritional areas.

There was a study in the British Journal of Medicine that showed a 5% decrease in aggression and a 26% decrease in antisocial behavior in prison inmates just by taking a fish oil supplement, multi-vitamin, and mineral supplement.

Also, a paper published in Nutrition Reviews showed that giving kids fish oil and a multi-vitamin improved behavior and intelligence scores.

Imagine what reducing deficiencies can do for gaining muscle and losing fat?

Common Nutritional Deficiencies

No matter how well we eat, chances are we have some type of nutritional deficiency. This is why many physique athletes who go on a diet look great but feel lousy. They have low energy, lack focus, are in a bad mood and are short of endurance.

Here are some common deficiencies you need to look for:

  • Water (low-level hydration): Dry skin, low energy, bloating and constipation.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Low energy and poor immune function, usually marked by a low intake of vegetables.
  • Protein (particularly in women and men with low appetites): This can happen when you are not eating enough protein-rich foods. Low amounts of lean muscle tissue, low energy, reduced strength, and not recovering from your workouts.
  • Essential fatty acids (95% of population is deficient here): Poor immunity, inflammation, up and down blood sugar and reduced satiety.

The bottom line is that if you are deficient in nutrients, you will constantly battle to achieve your health and fitness goals. Getting in all of the nutrients that you need through food will be a tough task, especially since most people are way too busy to prepare and eat the food we need. But if you can identify and plug holes, you can drastically boost health and performance.

If you are having one of the side effects mentioned above, the most likely explanation is that you have a deficiency. Keep in mind that you may never be without deficiencies but you can drastically improve them to where you will not notice signs or symptoms.

Here are four ways to minimize deficiencies in your diet.

Justin Grinnell, CSCS, is the owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. Justin received his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Michigan State University specializing in exercise science, fitness leadership, athletic administration, and health promotion in 2004. He is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). He also holds a certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is CrossFit Level I certified. For more training info from Justin Grinnell, CSCS, you can visit his gym’s website at, his Facebook page, or check him out on Twitter.

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