Cancer Healthy – Nutrition Goals During Cancer Treatment | El Camino Health


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I’m Charis Spielman, certified
specialist in oncology nutrition at the El
Camino Hospital Cancer Center. We’re
going to talk about nutrition goals
during cancer treatment because a common
question I receive is, “what can I eat and
what should I eat?” And we want you to be
able to eat your best to feel your best
during cancer treatment. The three goals
are eating adequate calories to prevent
unplanned weight loss, increased protein
and increased fluids. Adequate calories
is important because you need energy for
tissue healing and repair, so it’s a good
idea to eat intentionally during
treatment. That means sometimes you may
have to eat according to the clock
instead of according to hunger cues.
You’ll be weighed about once a week when
you come to clinic or infusion, and most
people’s weight goes up and down a
little bit, but what we want to do is
prevent deep dives or increase in weight.
The second goal is increased protein.
Studies have shown that those going
through cancer treatment have a higher
need for protein. Protein comes from your
animal sources, skinless poultry, fish,
limiting red meat but using it not more
than 18 ounces per week. Not forgetting
about nuts and seeds and legumes, as well
as dairy and plant proteins like soy and
soy yogurts. To determine how much
protein you need, it’s about a half a
gram of protein per pound of body weight,
so for instance, a hundred and fifty
pound person would need at least 75
grams of protein a day, and a hundred and
twenty pound person, sixty grams. We weigh
ourselves in pounds and you measure
protein in grams. And to make sure that
you get adequate protein, a tip is every
time you have a meal or snack, make sure
one of these protein foods is part of
that meal or snack.
The third nutrition goal is increased
fluids. You want to aim for eight to ten
cups of fluid each day. Fluids can be
anything that melts at room temperature.
Your go to will be water, but it could
also include seltzer water, 100 percent
fruit juices, broth based soups, smoothies
and decaffeinated teas. We can’t count
coffee and tea as a hydrating fluid
because they dehydrate you, but you
certainly can have some of those as well.
Keeping in mind these three nutrition
goals of adequate calories to prevent
unplanned weight loss, increased protein,
increased fluids will help you eat
your best and feel your best during
treatment for cancer. I’m Charis Spielman,
certified specialist in oncology nutrition
at the El Camino Hospital Cancer Center.
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