Diet and nutrition Infosheet

This Infosheet explains what a well-balanced diet is, what makes it difficult to maintain when you are a myeloma patient, when a special diet might be necessary and tips for eating a well-balanced diet.

Myeloma patients often have questions about diet and nutrition – about what type of foods are best to eat or should be
avoided. Many patients also want to know if there are alternative diets they should try.

Despite the interest in special diets, none have been scientifically studied so their effects are unknown and unproven. The lack of evidence does not support an alternative diet for myeloma patients. Myeloma patients should therefore follow the same basic principles of healthy eating that apply to us all.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help to maintain your muscle tone and strength, increase your energy levels and may aid recovery after treatment. A balanced diet is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals which helps the immune system to function more effectively.

There may be short periods when your diet may need to change, particularly after HDT-SCT, when your doctor might tell you that you are neutropenic (have low levels of white blood cells) which can increase your risk of an infection,
and some foods may increase your risk of infection. To reduce this risk, there may be times when it is recommended
you follow a ‘clean diet’. This will last until your white cell count is normal again.

Essentially, a clean diet eliminates certain ‘high-risk’ foods from your regular diet, including:

  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Soft and blue cheeses
  • Live yoghurts, e.g. probiotic yoghurts
  • Meringue
  • Shell fish
  • Pâté
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unpasteurised dairy products, e.g. some soft ice creams

The infosheet also includes guidance around vitamins or dietary supplements, how much and what to drink, how myeloma can affect your appetite and dietary requirements over time.