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HIV Diet Plan

Adequate and balanced nutrition intake is essential for the maintenance of a strong immune system. A healthy diet can delay the progression of AIDS and prolong life. Proper nutrition and HIV diet can sustain the lean body mass, reduce AIDS symptoms, and improve life quality. There is no typical diet for HIV, but the dietitians prefer some recommendations to have proper eating habits during the lifetime of dealing with the disease.
There are no novel foods or magical diets that help AIDS. Still, plenty of advice and recommendations are available to heal the suffering. Supporting the immune system and recovering its lost power is the best way to stop the immune system suppression by using the proper number of micro and macronutrients such as Proteins, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, and minerals.
Drugs competing with the infected body are another pressure on the HIV patient’s life that may bring some complications that; good eating habits and an appropriate HIV diet play an essential role in this way.

What Is the Best Diet for HIV Patients?

A balanced and sufficient diet is needed to maintain the immune system function and prolonged survival.
Adults and children who have AIDS have little lean mass, and their total body fat is less than healthy people.
We measure the body deformation and fat distribution such as waist size, hip circumference, the middle of the arm circumference, thigh size, and the circumference of triceps skinfold (arm size), circumference under the shoulder, circumference above the pelvis, circumference above the thigh, and the circumference above the abdomen.
If the Dystrophy syndrome related to AIDS was diagnosed, the fat layer on the back of the neck should be measured, and the neck diameter has to be measured to follow up the neck area changes.
Monitoring the unwanted weight changes is essential to survey the progress of AIDS disease.


There are differences in considering the energy for AIDS patients with or without clinical symptoms. The nutritionists increase calorie intake by about 10% in the HIV diet for the patient without clinical signs and symptoms. However, the energy increase is approximately 20-50% for people after an opportunist infection in children or adults.


The latest DRI suggested for healthy people is 0.8 g/kg bodyweight
1-1.4 g/kg body weight for maintenance of the weight
1.5-2 g/kg is suggested for increasing the lean body mass
There is no need for protein supplementation for HIV patients who have sufficient weight and are not suffering from malnutrition.
HIV patients with opportunist infection need a 10% protein increase to upper the amount of protein turnover.
We can modify HIV diets protein by eating cheese with fruits, sauces, soups, vegetables, using high protein foods such as meats, legumes, beans, fish, and dairy products, adding eggs to salads, using dried milk powders to meals and milkshakes.
If there are some particular diseases besides AIDS (Liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, kidney failure), modification, and adjustment are required that the dietitians will consider the changes in the HIV diet.
There are differences in considering the energy of the HIV diet for AIDS patients with or without clinical symptoms. The nutritionists increase calorie intake by about 10% for HIV patients without clinical signs and symptoms. However, the energy increase is approximately 20-50% for people after an opportunist infection in children or adults.


The fat oxidation in HIV patients is more than healthy people, so fat intake is different.
The usual guideline for a healthy heart and heart-healthy diet is better for the fat intake of HIV patients.
Getting omega-3 is necessary to improve the immune system function.
For AIDS patients whose triglyceride status is high, the omega-3 recommendation is suggested because it can lower the triglyceride status and improve inflammation and depression.


The status level of vitamin A and selenium will decrease due to the infection, so we need modification in vitamin A and selenium along with the HIV diet.
A low level of vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and zinc can lead to a faster disease progression.
Using high vitamin C and Vitamin B can lower the progress of AIDS.
A low level of micronutrients is a sign of acute infection, liver disease, and recent low intake.
Mineral vitamin supplementation is recommended to maintain 100% of DRI.
Taking a mega dosage of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Selenium, Zinc, Iron, and Copper can lead to harmful effects, so the recommendation should be adequate.
Vitamin A and Zinc supplementation have adverse effects that can lead to disease progression.
Selenium supplement therapy can slow down the AIDS progress.
The low status of Vitamin D ( 25(OH)D ) has a significant effect on AIDS progression.
The micronutrients can be taken with foods from the HIV diet or supplements. Still, it should be rather a supplement therapy due to the malabsorption.

How Micronutrients Level Changes Affect HIV Patients and Why They Need a Diet?

♦ Vitamin B12: Malabsorption and insufficient intake lead to an increase in the risk of AIDS indication, amnesia, reduction in executive activities.
♦ Vitamin A: Fat malabsorption, Scant intake leads to increasing the incidence of AIDS.
♦ Beta-carotene: Fat malabsorption, insufficient intake may lead to increased lung cancer risk in smokers.
♦ Vitamin E: Fat malabsorption, insufficient intake that disrupts immune responses
♦ Vitamin D: low intake, low exposure to sunlight, fat malabsorption, liver diseases, drugs will lead to low calcium absorption, suppression of the immune system, and the decreased bone mineral density.
♦ Selenium: insufficient intake can result in oxidative stress, weakening the immune system, and a potential increase in AIDS risk
♦ Zinc: diarrhea, insufficient intake can result in an increased rate of death from AIDS, weakening the immune system, disrupt in the improvement process
♦ Iron: insufficient intake, low absorption result in anemia, disease progress, increased rate of death due to the HIV infection, increase the risk to induce other infections.

HIV Diet; A Promising Way to Prevent Wasting or Unintentional Weight Loss

10% and more weight loss and decomposition of body muscle mass due to the progress of AIDS causes:
♦ insufficient intake
♦ anorexia caused by malabsorption
♦ systemic infection
♦ tumor
♦ lipodystrophy arising from AIDS
♦ dyslipidemia
♦ insulin resistance and diabetes

Nutritional Recommendations for Controlling Side Effects While on a HIV Diet

Grapefruit juice has interactions with the AIDS drugs that should be noted.

Reducing nausea and vomiting:

♦ Small and frequent meals can reduce some side effects.
♦ Avoid drinking fluid beside meals
♦ Cold drinks
♦ Crackers and bread toasts
♦ Mild smell and soft taste foods like potato, rice, and fruit compotes
♦ Avoid consuming high fat and spicy foods such as fish and old cheese
♦ Adding ginger to the meals
♦ Drinking ginger tea between meals
♦ Consuming foods with the room temperature
♦ Wearing loose and comfortable clothes
♦ Recording the times of nausea and vomits and the foods that irritated the stomach.


♦ Using simple carbs like white rice, noodles, crackers, toast
♦ Using banana and apple
♦ Drinking fluids and substituting electrolytes with broth
♦ Small and frequent meals
♦ Avoiding spicy and oily foods
♦ Avoiding milk and dairy products
♦ Using protein powder and smoothies and high protein soups in HIV diet for patients that have problems in protein intake
♦ Probiotics, yogurt, glutamine can help the gastrointestinal complications
♦ Glutamine reduces diarrhea related to the ARV drug
♦ Glutamine can help diarrhea associated with the Nelfinavir drug
♦ Using probiotics with prebiotic foods like chicory root, garlic, onion, oat, barley, banana
♦ Avoid using caffeine

Anorexia and loss of appetite:

♦ Small and frequent meals and adding snacks in the HIV diet
♦ Considering nutrient-rich foods like lean protein, egg, milkshake, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, whole grains
♦ Doing exercises like walking can stimulate the appetite
♦ Avoid drinking too much to prevent feeling bloating and full
♦ Avoid gassy foods such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, and legumes
Consult with your dietitians to add your favorite foods to your meal plans, and your HIV diet becomes as you want
♦ Add dressing to the foods and design them

HIV/AIDS Diet Therapy

Using diabetes diet in hyperglycemia conditions
Using the NCEP diet in hyperlipidemia situations
Using Soft and nonacidic diet in Sores of the mouth, esophagus, and sore throat conditions
Using a nonfat diet in pancreatitis
Using small and frequent meals, high-density foods, soups, added milk powder, hot grains, milkshakes, and oral supplements in wasting conditions.

Food Safety in HIV Diet

As the immune system is weaker in AIDS because of the drugs and the disease situation, the HIV patients should pay attention to the fluids and foods they consume in HIV diet to be devoid of any germs and infectious possibilities to prevent the side harmful diseases. Choosing the right foods is the first step, and the subsequent steps are preparing, cooking, and storing foods that should be healthy to avoid foodborne illnesses.

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