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4 Hepatitis C Dietary Myths

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. January 17, 2014

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Debunking these four myths about what to consume or avoid with Hepatitis C will help you make better liver health choices.
4 Hepatitis C Dietary Myths

Nearly everything we ingest impacts the liver, a sequence that directly influences anyone with chronic Hepatitis C – a prevalent, infectious, liver virus. The wrong foods can aggravate Hepatitis C-related liver inflammation while the right ones can extinguish inflammation and provide an ideal environment for sustaining healthy liver cells. Accordingly, eating a healthy diet is a valuable step for managing this illness. Although nutritionists may have a firm handle on what exactly constitutes a healthy, Hepatitis C-friendly diet, the following four myths can easily lead affected individuals astray.

  1. Soup Is Good Food – Although home-cooked broths are generally nourishing to the body and gentle on the digestive system, a majority of store-bought soups are very high in sodium. Foods high in sodium can be especially harmful to those with advanced Hepatitis C. For those with cirrhosis from Hepatitis C, health professionals typically advise restricting sodium intake to 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, just one cup of canned, boxed or typical restaurant soup can easily contain over 1,000 milligrams of sodium (a typical bowl of soup is around two cups).
  2. A Little Bit of Wine Is Fine – Whether people consume wine because they like the taste, it helps them relax or it is touted as an aid for good cardiovascular health, alcohol in any form is not recommended for people with Hepatitis C. Experts agree that those with Hepatitis C must adhere to a zero alcohol consumption policy. Research shows that heavy, moderate or light drinking creates inflammation in the liver and accelerates liver damage during Hepatitis C infection.
  3. Meat Is Unhealthy – Eating large quantities of fatty cuts of red meat is far from a good health practice, but that shouldn’t rule out meat consumption. Because protein is needed for liver cell maintenance and repair, nutritionists typically advise adults with Hepatitis C to eat approximately 60 to 120 grams of protein each day. Although protein can be found in dairy, nut and legume sources, animal sources of protein are also acceptable. Experts suggest avoiding meat with high fat quantities (such as pork belly or rib-eye), processed meat (such as sausage or salami), poultry skin and organ meats. Instead, they recommend small portions of fish, poultry and lean meat to help achieve adequate protein levels. Editor’s Note: Some individuals with complications from advanced Hepatitis C may have to strictly limit their protein intake.
  4. Caffeine Is Harmful – Caffeinated soda puts a strain on the liver’s well-being, but two other sources of caffeine have proven to be beneficial for those with Hepatitis C. The first is coffee – the popular, caffeinated beverage that may cause anxiety, raise blood pressure and irritate the stomach lining. However, for those who are not affected by these caveats, research has shown that coffee may lower the risk of liver scarring and reduce the risk of liver cancer in those with Hepatitis C. The second is green tea, a caffeinated brew that quells liver inflammation and has been shown to inhibit Hepatitis C viral replication.

Navigating food and beverage consumption to prevent Hepatitis C from worsening is no simple task. Seemingly conflicting reports surface regularly, touting previously forbidden foods as healthy and vice versa. Nonetheless, alcohol and high sodium foods like canned soup should be avoided, while moderate consumption of lean meat, coffee and green tea has benefits to the liver. It may be confusing to keep up with what nutrition experts suggest is best for Hepatitis C management. However, recognizing the preceding four dietary misconceptions will help you distinguish between what has the potential to harm and what could possibly help sustain your liver’s health.

http://completewellbeing.com/article/yellow-lies/, Hepatitis Myths: Yellow Lies, Anand Joshi, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Complete Wellbeing, 2014.

https://www.helpeverypersonc.co.uk/media/55279/mythsandfactsabouthepc.pdf, Myth and Facts About Hepatitis C, Retrieved January 11, 2014, helpeverypersonc.co.uk, 2014.

http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/faqs/foods-to-avoid.asp, FAQ: What Foods Should I Avoid?, Retrieved January 11, 2014, US Department of Veteran Affairs, 2014.

http://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/healthy-eating/, Healthy Eating, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Hepatitis Australia, Inc., 2014.

http://www.hepatitiscentral.com/mt/archives/2011/01/hep_c_advisory.html, Hep C Advisory: Where Salt Hides, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Hepatitis Central, 2014.

http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/Living+with+Hep+C/Caring+for+yourself/Diet/Diet, Diet, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Hepatitis C Trust, 2014.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/83029-foods-bad-hepatitis-c/, Foods that Are Bad for Hepatitis C, Shelley Moore, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Demand Media Inc., 2014.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23238034, Effects of coffee consumption in chronic hepatitis C: a randomized controlled trial, Cardin R, et al, Retrieved January 12, 2014, Digestive and Liver Disease, June 2013.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23365670, Green tea phenolic epicatechins inhibit hepatitis C virus replication via cycloxygenase-2 and attenuate virus-induced inflammation, Lin YT, et al, Retrieved January 12, 2014, PLoS One, January 2013.

http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/news/20040312/bad-mix-alcohol-hepatitis-c, Bad Mix: Alcohol and Hepatitis C, Jeanie Lerche Davis, Retrieved January 12, 2014, WebMD, LLC, 2014.

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HepatitisCentral.com provides information regarding hepatitis and liver disease. Comments are available to the community in order to discuss these topics and obtain answers to questions through community members. The Editors at HepatitisCentral.com will not be responding to questions or comments posed in article comments.

  • Linda

    I don’t know where you got the information regarding meat but according to the research of T. Colin Campbell of Cornell, you are very wrong. His many years of research, detailed in The Chin Study shows a direct link between animal protein and cancer. His research also included hepatitis and his information to me was that I increased my risk of liver cancer by 20-30 times by eating animal protein.

    • Harr

      Exactly…read the China Study.

    • Quetzal

      Hi Linda. Could you furnish some kind of link to this subject relating to research of Mr. Campbell. In my medical studies, I can find innumerable instances in disagreements of some research project on hundreds of topics.. Best advice here is “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”.

      • Linda

        If you read either of his books you will see that the government is not the best source for this information. He has served on many scientific panels and you will learn why we get the information we get. The government and media play a reductionist game that keeps drug companies and the cancer industry in business. A whole food diet isn’t going to provide them with profits the way a vitamin supplement or chemical drug will. You can also look for articles on the vegsource website, one of them addressing the criticisms from the Weston Price Institute aka Sally Fallon, an English major who apparently wants to eat butter and was willing to distort Weston Price’s work, flawed as it was.

        • Angelo

          Weston Price Institute? Let me guess. You think Dr Mercola and Mike Adams are worth listening to and there information is valid huh? Your the “Big Pharma” is bad and the Goverment can’t be trusted type of person. No sense of arguing with you. You just don’t know any better. Uneducated etc.

          • Linda

            Angelo, I am wiling to join in a discussion and I will not put words in someone else’s mouth or jump to conclusions about their beliefs. You may ask me if I agree with the Weston Price people and I will say emphatically no. You could also ask about Dr Mercola and I will say that some things he says I agree with and some things I don’t. If you were to politely ask, rather than throw out Mike Adams at me, I would tell you that I do not who he is. I ask for the same consideration that I will give you. For the government, it is made up of people, nothing to hate there. Some policy makers I find to be concerned about the public welfare and some, I feel do not, but I do not put the responsibility for my health on anyone else, including policy makers or government groups. I will look for truth and primary sourced information. I am far from uneducated, I am retired, an ex-teacher, a veteran, and I try to make considered decisions without attacking others in the process.

    • harry

      Read the VA or CDC website regarding protein and “lean animal sources”. Also, human beings require meat. PPL hate to tell others what to do but their are biological consequences for those without meat. Look at human-being development. Without meat and animal protein we would still be living in caves. Also, prenatal vitamins and children/infants require many nutrients that can only be obtained naturally from animal protein. Supplementation is not natural and science is discovering more and more that this practice can be dangerous. So, go straight to the source. Moderation is best as with all things.

      BUt, any study claiming the only factors that lead to these ppl in study getting cancer was animal meat, that i think any rational person should question that. Of course, cattle and other live stock are pumped full of anti-biotics,steriods and god-knows what else nowadays. So, maybe organic is the way to go, But, dont swear of lean animal protein due to this one study. To many benefits otherwise

      • Linda

        I have been on a plant based whole food diet for 30 years and was infected with the virus 40 years ago. I have no lack of energy and good blood work results every time it is checked. If you take the CDC or VA website as your source, you are taking a biased view – I was raised in the midwest and had to leave that culture to remain healthy. Dr. Campbell grew up on dairy farm and was taught that milk was the perfect food. He followed the truth that his research showed. His work is confirmed by Drs. Esselstyn, McDougall, and others in clinical practice. I would rather be informed by truth.

  • Angelo

    So you people are basing your opinion on a over 20 year old stud? One study? Even though maybe 20 other studies say that study is flawed? He write that eating any foods that contain 0mg of cholesterol or more is unhealthy. You got to be kidding me. He even says “in the years since I wrote it I’v added a number of additional articles expanding and covering a great deal of new material that critiques my findings and shows what is wrong with my findings”. Cambells has to admit his faults in the book because they are comical ridiculous to even uneducated people. But, apparently he has people like you who hang on his every word and believe everything they read. Know he’s going back and correcting every falsehood, eggageration and down right lie.

    • Kay S

      Huh? Too many typos I couldn’t follow what you were saying.

    • Linda

      Dr. Campbell has not had to go back and change any of these findings as his research was never biased or flawed. One study? The opinions he has are based on a lifetime, decades, of ethical research. His latest book Whole explains it in greater detail and that was released recently. If you want to eat meat – eat meat – but don’t disparage others in the process. You should not attempt to misinform others of this. If anyone want to be informed, pick up Whole or The China Study and decide after reading it. It is clear that Angelo has not read the book.

    • Editors at HepatitisCentral

      Dr. Campbell’s study is not
      referenced in this article.

      • Angelo

        I’m replying to the replies of the article.

      • Linda

        Why was it not considered when giving this advice? I would be more confident in advice if it did not represent one side of a very controversial issue. The study has competent and unbiased science behind it. and the results do not bend to the will of any monied groups.

  • Joe Torres

    Is the tea made from the moringa tree good for your liver?

    • Pablito

      I have moringa trees so i make powder. It is supposed to have a lot of good vitamins, but I take it only in very small amounts because it contains quite a bit more iron than most foods and iron is a big no no for hep C because the viruses need iron for replication. Giving them more iron just makes it easier for them to multiply… Not a good thing

  • Buddy

    Sorry but this has zero to do with the topic at hand but I need some help PLEASE. I live in the New Orleans area and my M.D. Dr. Regenstein I cannot locate him any more. Can anyone recommend a really good Hep-C Doctor in my area. Many Thanks

  • Joe Torres

    Is medicinal mariguana good for HEP C ???

  • jasonrobert

    red bull energy drinks and hep-c?