Nutrition for Liver Donation
Donating a portion of your liver is a generous act. Before and after donation, it is vital to choose
eating habits and lifestyle choices that promote overall health. To keep yourself healthy, eat a
diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in salt with enough protein. You need avoid becoming
obese to protect liver health, which can lead to fatty liver disease. You should always avoid
ξ Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
ξ Eat a diet low in salt.
ξ Exercise regularly.
ξ Maintain a healthy body weight.
Your Body Weight
Body Mass Index (BMI):
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of
body fat based on height and weight that
applies to adult men and women.
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Desired BMI < 28.0
Visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx to learn how much and what you
should eat to maintain a healthy body weight. Get a diet plan just for you or use the menu
planner – FREE!
Visit http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi to see if your current weight and height may increase
your risk of chronic diseases. If so, link to “Aim for a Healthy Weight.”
Your Diabetes Risk
Your Heart Health
To reduce cholesterol and LDL, do not overeat animal products, as these contain cholesterol.
Most people have enough daily protein intake from 6 ounces of lean meats and 3 servings of
low-fat dairy foods. Try to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These foods help lower
cholesterol. Keep a healthy body weight and make sure to exercise often.
To reduce blood triglyceride levels, you need to control your weight, exercise, quit smoking, and
avoid alcohol. You should also follow an eating plan that is not too high in carbohydrates (less
than 60 percent of calories) and is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
Fasting Blood Glucose < 100 mg/dL
High cholesterol alone will not prevent you from donating a liver. To avoid heart disease, it is
vital to attain normal lipid levels before donation and life-long.
Fasting Lipid Profile Results Goal
The body needs cholesterol to function normally.
The higher the blood cholesterol level, the greater
the chances of developing heart disease. Total
cholesterol is a measure of the cholesterol in all of
your lipoproteins, including the “bad” cholesterol
in LDL and the “good” cholesterol in HDL.
Desirable: < 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 200–239 mg/dL
High Risk: > 240 mg/dL
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the
blood and in food. Triglycerides are produced in
the liver. When you drink alcohol or take in more
calories than your body needs, your liver produces
Desirable: < 150 mg/dL
Borderline High: 150-199
High Risk: 200-499 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol.
That’s because HDL helps remove cholesterol from
the body, and prevents it from building up in the
arteries. The lower your HDL level, the higher
your heart disease risk.
High Risk: < 40 mg/dL
Desirable: 40-60 mg/dL
LDL carries most of the cholesterol in the blood.
Cholesterol packaged in LDL is often called “bad”
cholesterol, because too much LDL in the blood
can lead to cholesterol buildup and blockage in the
Optimal: < 130 mg/dL
Borderline High: 130-159
High Risk: 160-189 mg/dL
Very High Risk: >190 mg/dL
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 © 11/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#529