The best foods for patients with liver disease include starches and proteins at meals and snacks such as cereal, fruit, crackers and toast, explains British Liver Trust. People with liver disease need more protein and carbohydrates in their diet than healthy people because their liver damage hinders absorption.
A healthy liver can store and release glycogen, a chemical that provides energy to the body, notes British Liver Trust. Digestion generally converts carbohydrates into glycogen, and it remains in the liver as an energy source. However, when the liver does not work properly, the body consumes muscle tissue for energy in between meals. This leads to muscle wasting, weakness and malnutrition.
These dietary changes are necessary whether a person has compensated cirrhosis, in which the liver has scarring but enough healthy cells for the liver to perform its work sufficiently, or uncompensated cirrhosis, in which the liver cannot perform functions as needed. For every pound of body weight, people with liver disease should take in between 12 and 15 calories and 0.6 grams of protein, according to British Liver Trust. People who are underweight need to increase consumption even more. If cirrhosis is also causing bone thinning, the doctor is likely to prescribe vitamin D and/or calcium supplements to reduce the danger of bone fracture.