Does counting carbs, stacking up on proteins and measuring fat sound familiar? Nutrition is very much part and parcel of Cystic Fibrosis and daily life. This is true for various reasons. 

CF, Diet and Nutrition

Firstly, diet and nutrition play an important role in overall health. It can lessen the frequency of infections and shorten the recovery time during exacerbations. People living with CF usually have to take in more carbs and proteins to maintain their weight.

Pancreatic Insufficiency

About 85% of people with Cystic Fibrosis are pancreatic insufficient and cannot digest fats and proteins efficiently. Pancreatic enzymes are taken with food to aid digestion and absorption. They are taken based on per gram of fat eaten or the person’s weight. 

CF Related Diabetes

Complications related to the pancreas may lead to CF Related Diabetes in some cases. This condition requires regular use of insulin and a close watch on sugar intake.

Modulator Medications and Fat

In some cases, certain medications require minimum fat when taking them. This is true for modulator medication, where each dosage has to be combined with 10 grams of fat. 

The Solution

Keeping track of carbs, fats and proteins can be super overwhelming. We often have moms or young adults ask how they can add enough fat to meals when taking Trikafta, or how they should calculate insulin dosages relative to carb intake. 

“One App gives me the answer to 10g of fat (for Trikafta) and how many carbs (for my insulin) – for FREE! Mahala!”, Rida Viljoen Patient Support and Advocacy, SACFA

This App takes away the guessing! And the best part? It is written with the SA customer in mind. All the food we eat, from Mieliepap to Marie biscuits and biltong, are listed on the app. 

How it Works

The App is extremely user-friendly – whether you are tech-savvy or not. If you can use your phone, you can use the App. It is intuitive to your needs and will help you plan better for meals, and insulin use and take the stress out of whether that teaspoon of peanut butter adds enough fat to your meal. If you are like the average South African, you most likely have the same types of foods in your pantry (unless you cook like Jan Hendrik or Gordon Ramsey). So once your meals are in the app, you are set to go, and won’t need to check so often. 

So thanks to Rida, we are happy to share that you don’t have to wake up at 5 am to prepare a full-house breakfast hoping for enough fat. Here are a few examples to show you what 10 g of fat looks like. *Please note these are examples pulled off the FatSecret as a guide and planning a grocery list):

Your average grocery list:

  • 250ml of full cream milk = 8,5g
  • One tablespoon of butter = 11,52g
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter = 8,06g
  • One tablespoon of cream = 5,6g
  • One buttermilk rusk (Ouma) = 4,3g
  • One condensed milk rusk (Ouma) = 6,3g
  • Bran Rusk (Woolworths) = 5,7g
  • 30g of cheese = 9,6g
  • ⁠One glass of Ensure = 9g
  • ⁠One teaspoon of MCT oil = 5g
  • ⁠Full cream yoghurt (100g is the small, prepacked yoghurt you buy in the shop) = 4g
  • Two slices of bread (Sasko) = 2g
  • ⁠100g of Maize Meal-Pap = 1g of fat BUT 73g of carbs (yikes!)
  • Small packet peanuts and raisins Simba makes = 27g
  • One sweet potato with a knob of butter = 5g
  • One pancake 10cm = 3,69g
  • ½ cup of jungle oats = 3,2g (Prepare it with milk and a teaspoon of butter and you should be very close to 10g of fat)
  • ⁠3 tablespoons of FutureLife = 5,5g
  • 50g of ProNutro = 3,3g
  • 100g of Morvite = 2,7g
  • One glass of maas = 3,7g
Where to start?


Step1: Go to your App Store and search for the “FatSecret App”

Step 2: Download and Install

Step 3: Search and find

Search for your usual suspects in terms of breakfast and dinner. Check the fat content and add to it to get to 10g. For example, a bowl of oats or Futurelife, plus a teaspoon of peanut butter or MCT oil.

We hope Rida’s tips will contribute to making your management of CF a little less complicated! Thank you Rida! Your input and ideas are much valued

*Rida Viljoen leads SACFA’s Patient Support and Advocacy Programme. This article was contributed by Rida. Please note that while we share tips and advice, we recommend that all medical advice and support should be supported by your CF specialist or CF Team.



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