Medical / Dietary Needs

What you need to know

  • It is important for an individual with VLCAD or other FAOD to eat regularly and not go without food or calories for more than 8-12 hours. 
    • This is especially important during times of high metabolic stress, such as illness.
      • This means frequent feeds as infants and may involve a cornstarch supplement at bedtime when they are older if they have the severe form of VLCAD.
  • A low fat (<30% of total energy from fat) diet is recommended and in the more severe form this may mean an almost non-fat diet.
    • Children with the more severe forms may take supplements of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil and walnut or similar oils in order to get their essential fats without taking in very long chain fats. Carnitine supplements may benefit some children.
  • It is important to be sensitive to cultural differences in diet.
  • Excess food intake is stored in the body as very long chains fats, so controlling the overall calories is also important to avoid obesity.
  • Be aware, or ask a parent, if the child has a medical alert bracelet.

What you can do

  • During the school day, a student may require low fat/high carbohydrate foods throughout the day. Parents may leave cereal or other food with the teacher or nurse to use as needed.
    • Multiple snacks during the day may be necessary.
  • Ensure good hydration and carbohydrate intake during periods of exercise. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) must be avoided.
  • Ensure sick day plans are in place for illness or other times when a child cannot eat.
  • Notify a parent if you notice changes.
    • Documenting is helpful

NOTE: A child may appear hydrated and still be heading to a crisis. They still require calories to prevent or help them through the metabolic crisis/stress.