Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Nutrition

Medical Nutrition Therapy: Nutrition Guidelines for Chyle Leak (536)

Medical Nutrition Therapy: Nutrition Guidelines for Chyle Leak (536) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Nutrition


Nutrition Guidelines for Chyle Leak
(25 grams fat per day)

What is a chyle leak?
Chyle is a milky looking fluid that contains lymphatic fluid and fat and is produced in the small
intestine during digestion. Chyle is carried around the body by the lymphatic vessels of the lymphatic
system. The lymphatic system carries fluid, fats, protein, and cells that fight infection around the
body. A leak in the lymphatic system can occur after surgery which is called a chyle leak.

How can my diet help heal the chyle leak?
Following a very low fat or fat free diet can help heal a chyle leak. When you eat less fat, the body
makes less chyle which decreases the amount of chyle that can leak into the body. This can make it
easier for the leak to heal.

What are the guidelines of this diet?
ξ Limit your fat intake to no more than 25 grams per day. Do this by eating only fat free or very
low fat foods and drinks.
ξ The small amount of fat that is allowed in your diet should be spread out throughout the day.
Do not eat all that fat at one meal.
ξ Read food labels to check the fat content of food items.
ξ Protein intake is very important. You may need to use nutritional supplement drinks or protein
powders to meet your protein needs..
ξ Talk with your doctor or dietitian about taking a daily multivitamin with minerals while you are
on this diet.
ξ This diet is meant for only short term use and should not be followed for longer than 3 weeks
due to the risk for nutrient deficiencies.

Food Group Foods Allowed Foods Not Allowed
Fruits Fresh or canned Fruits
Dried fruits
Fruit juice
Jelly/jams/fruit spreads
Canned pie fillings
Vegetables Plain fresh or frozen vegetables
Canned vegetables
Vegetable juice
Potatoes & sweet potatoes
without added fat
Vegetables in sauce made with
butter, cream, or cheese.
Vegetables canned in oil

Breads/Cereals/Grains Fat free breads, bagels and
Fat free cereals (no nuts)
Fat free pasta and rice
Air popped popcorn
Fat free muffins
Breads or cereals that contain fat
Bread or cereals with added fat
such as cream, butter, peanut
Microwave or stovetop popcorn
made with oil

Dairy Skim milk, skim milk powder
Fat free cheese and cottage
Fat free sour cream and cream
Fat free yogurt and frozen yogurt
Low fat or full fat dairy products
Creamers containing fat
Meats and Meat
Fat free lunch meat/deli meat
Fat free hot dogs
Fat free egg substitute or Egg
Beaters®, egg whites
Fat free veggie burgers
White poultry meat without the
skin and trimmed of any fat
Lean fish such as cod, perch,
halibut, tilapia.
Beans (black, pinto, kidney,
white, lima) and lentils prepared
without added fat
Fat free refried beans

Whole eggs
Nuts and seeds
Peanut butter or other varieties of
Nut butter
Fatty fish such as salmon
Dark poultry meat
Fatty cuts of meat
Condiments Fat free salad dressings and
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard,
soy sauce, and hot sauce
Fat free salsa, relish
Low fat or regular mayonnaise
and salad dressings
Soups Fat free broth
Soups made with fat free broth,
skim milk, or evaporated skim
Cream soups
Fats Fat free creamers
Fat free whipping cream/Cool
Butter, margarine, cream
Vegetable oils
Low fat or regular mayonnaise
and salad dressings
Beverages Decaf or regular coffee or tea
Carbonated beverages
Juice or lemonade
Sports drinks such as Powerade®
or Gatorade®
Specialty coffee drinks
Tea or coffee with cream
Shakes or smoothies that contain

Desserts Fat free pudding, popsicles,
nonfat frozen yogurt, fat free
sherbet, fat free ice cream,
desserts that are fat free
Regular pudding
Cookies, cake, pie, doughnuts
Ice cream, frozen yogurt
Chocolate candy

Supplement Drinks
Carnation® Breakfast Essentials
powder mixed with skim milk.
Ensure Clear®
Resource® Breeze
Whey protein powders
Carnation® Breakfast Essentials
Ready to Drink beverage
Generic or store brand nutritional
supplement drinks

Teach Back:

ξ How many grams of fat are allowed daily on this diet?

ξ Why is it important that you follow this diet?

ξ What are two examples of fat free nutritional supplement drinks that you can consume on this

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone
numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.

Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any
questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical
advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are
different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an
emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved.
Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department of Nursing. HF#536