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Managing Eating Difficulties

After you return home and allAcute lymphoblastic leukemia. through your recovery, it is important to get enough calories. In factFoundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, transplant patients need to increase their caloric and proteinOne of the three nutrients that supply calories to the body. Protein helps build muscle, bone, skin, and blood. intake to fight fevers and repair any tissue damage caused by the transplant process.

Typically, transplant patients need 50 to 60 percent more calories and twice as much protein in their diets than healthy individuals of similar age and sex. This increase in caloric intake may continue for several months.

For the first three months after transplant, or longer if the patient is on immunosuppressive drugs, a patient must take care to avoid foods that may contain elements that could cause infection. Many transplant centers have specific recommendations on foods to avoid which may include:


  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Dishes that contain undercooked meat such as sausages or casseroles 
  • Raw or undercooked eggs or foods that might contain them
  • Raw or undercooked seafood, including sushi
  • Unroasted raw nuts or unshelled nuts
  • Miso products
  • Non-pasturized milk products 
  • Cheeses with mold
  • Soft cheeses such as brie or feta
  • Smoked or pickled seafood 
  • Raw honey
  • Tempe products


Following a transplant, patients may face a variety of eating difficulties for a period of time. These include:


  • Mouth or throat sores
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in the way food tastes
  • Thick saliva which makes swallowing difficult
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrehea 
  • Constipation 


BMT InfoNet has created a brochure entitled Eating Well, Living Well After Transplant which you can view online, or download and print out. In it, we have addressed different approaches to meeting your nutritional requirements when faced by the many possible side effects of your transplant treatment. Each side effect is matched with strategies to improve your appetite and manage eating difficulties. 

Last updated on 10/01/2015
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