Diet Information

On this page we have gathered useful general information on special diets. For diet information related to specific diseases, please visit the relevant disease page which can be found in the "Patient & Caregivers" section of this site.
Diet therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for many metabolic disorders. Perhaps the most profound effect diet treatment has had in the area of metabolic disease over the past 50 years is on people with phenylketonuria (PKU). Before 1965, babies born with PKU were undiagnosed and developed severe mental retardation. In 1965, Newborn Screening was introduced in British Columbia. Since that time, babies born with PKU are diagnosed and treated with a low protein diet and special formula from birth, sparing their brains from the damaging effects of high levels of phenylalanine. Diet therapy also protects the brain of the developing fetus in pregnant women with PKU. Babies exposed to high phenylalanine levels in utero are born with maternal PKU syndrome, symptoms of which include mental retardation, microcephaly and heart defects.
At the Adult Metabolic Diseases Clinic, dietitians see patients whose metabolic condition requires nutrition intervention, including diet education and assessment of metabolic and nutritional status with individualized care planning. There are two groups of patients followed by dietitians at the AMDC:
  1. Patients with disorders for whom diet therapy is the cornerstone of treatment (e.g. PKU, urea cycle disorders, glycogen storage diseases, galactosemia and fatty acid oxidation disorders).
  2. Patients with nutrition problems such as the inability to gain weight and swallowing difficulties secondary to non-diet treated metabolic disorders (e.g. mitochondrial disease, Neimann Pick C).
AMDC dietitians do not see patients for basic nutrition counseling such as diabetes, heart health or weight loss. Patients who need counseling for these more common disorders will be referred by the metabolic team to community nutrition resources based on diagnosis and/or current health status and symptoms.