Frequently Asked Questions

Registered Dietitian and CF Nutrition Specialist Suzanne Michel, MPH, RD, LDN, answers some of the top questions about CF nutrition including tips to avoid weight loss, how to get enough nutrients, and more. Read Suzanne's bio

The information contained within the CF Commitment site FAQ was developed with input from Registered Dietitian and CF Nutrition Specialist Suzanne Michel, MPH, RD, LDN, based on information and guidelines from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is not affiliated with, and has not endorsed, the AbbVie CF Commitment site. The content on is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Understanding CF

Thick mucus can affect many organs in the body of someone who has CF. In addition to making it harder to breathe, it blocks the pancreas and gallbladder, making it hard to digest food and absorb nutrients. Mucus can also block the lungs, liver, intestines, and reproductive organs, making it hard for these organs to function.

People who have CF have important nutrition needs. To be sure that your bones stay healthy, it is important to get enough calcium and vitamins D and K. Zinc plays an important role in growth, and someone who has CF may need extra zinc if the diet does not supply enough. Without sufficient salt, a person who has CF may become dehydrated; they also may not grow as expected. If you do not get enough vitamin A you may develop “night blindness.” Working with your CF Center team will help you meet all of the nutrition challenges that come with CF.

Infants & children

Food preparation

It is so hard to chew and breathe when someone is sick, either with a bad cold, or with a flare-up of their CF lung disease. Eating foods that are soft and don’t require a great deal of chewing will help get in enough calories. Instead of eating bagels, steak, or hoagies, try softer foods such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, ground beef, and puddings. Think about drinking fluids that are higher in calories. Some examples are cream soups, milkshakes, instant breakfast powder added to whole milk, and canned formulas.