Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Organ Transplant, Diet, and Weight Gain

Font Size
A
A
A

As you start to feel better after your transplant, you may be struck by the sudden return of your appetite. After being sick for a while, it can be a great feeling. For the first time in ages, you really enjoy eating again.

But as great as that feeling is, eating a lot has that well-known downside: weight gain. And unfortunately, the steroids that you're taking can both boost your appetite and make it harder for your body to use carbohydrates. The result can be excess fat.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Handling the Stress of Diabetes

Managing stress is key for people with diabetes. When you're stressed, you may skip meals or forget to take your medicines, which will affect your blood sugar level. Everyone has some stress; it's a fact of life. What matters is how you handle it. These six tips will help.

Read the Handling the Stress of Diabetes article > >

Experts say that weight gain is common among transplant patients. And while keeping a healthy weight is important for everyone, it's especially important after you've had a transplant. Keeping a healthy weight lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

How to Eat After an Organ Transplant

There is no magical "Transplant Diet." In general, you should just eat the kind of diet that would be healthy for anyone. It should be low in fat and sugar and high in complex carbohydrates such as cereals, vegetables, and grains. Of course, it all depends on your individual case. You may need to take special precautions. Stick to the diet your doctor recommends.

In many cases, eating is a lot simpler after a transplant. For instance, before getting a kidney transplant, people often have to avoid foods with high magnesium and phosphorous as well as follow strict fluid restrictions. After a transplant, many of these restrictions can be lifted. People can then eat a normal diet.

Avoiding Unwanted Weight Gain

So how do you stay healthy and avoid gaining weight after an organ transplant? These suggestions from transplant experts can help:

  • Talk to your health care team. Consulting with a dietician, even before the transplant, can be very helpful. Doing so can help you plan how to eat without risking your new health status.
  • Stay away from fad diets. It's best to avoid diets you read about in magazines or hear about on TV. Instead, focus on the basics. Don't think of your new eating plan as going on a diet. Think of it as making sensible changes to the way you eat that you can live with permanently.
  • Resist temptation at the grocery store. If you try to buy healthy foods at the grocery store, you only need to exercise your willpower once a week instead of everyday. If you don't have doughnuts and cookies at home, you can't be tempted to eat them.
  • Drink plenty of water. This is advisable as long as your doctor says you don't have to control the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Try healthier ways of cooking. Instead of frying, try baking, broiling, grilling, or steaming foods.
  • Pay attention to portion size. Keep in mind that restaurants often serve enormous portions. Don't eat the whole thing. Instead, cut it in half and eat the rest for lunch the next day.
  • Read food labels. Take note of what's in the foods you buy. Watch for the amount of fat, salt, and calories.
  • Watch out for interactions. Make sure you know if any of your medicines interact with any foods you might eat. For instance, some medications used to suppress your immune system can interact with grapefruit juice.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on March 16, 2013

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article