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Huntington Disease Nutritional Needs

by Erik Steel
  • Overview

    People with Huntington's disease have increased calorie requirements, but also experience challenges eating as a result of the symptoms of the disease. Huntington's disease, therefore, requires special nutritional considerations.
  • Significance

    People with Huntington's disease burn up to 5,000 calories in one day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of this, dietitians like Anna Gaba recommend high calorie diets for Huntington's sufferers.
  • Considerations

    Nutrient supplements may be considered if a person is having trouble meeting their basic nutrient needs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gaba notes, however, that excess amounts of nutrients have not been shown to benefit people with Huntington's disease.
  • Size

    Smaller meals given between six and eight times a day is recommended by Gaba for people with Huntington's disease. Food should be cut small or pureed to reduce the risk of choking; plenty of fluids should also be consumed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Features

    High-fat foods including ice cream, cream, butter, cream-based soups, mayonnaise, nut butters, cheese, re-fried beans and avocados are particularly recommended for Huntington's sufferers, according to Gaba. The Mayo Clinic notes, however, that dairy products can create a choking hazard through the production of too much mucous.
  • Warning

    Tube feeding may become necessary in later stages of Huntington's disease, according to Gaba.

    References & Resources