Ask The Mito Doc Webcast Series – Diet and Nutrition -Managing Mitochondrial Disease Through the Holidays

If you missed the December 2020 ‘Ask the Mito Doc’ webcast, ‘Diet and Nutrition – Managing Mitochondrial Disease through the Holidays’ watch the replay below.

UMDF Ask the Mito Doc Questions and Answers – December 2020
Responses provided by Barbara Marriage, PhD, RD

What kind of diet should a kid follow on a regular basis? We generally give him whole wheat bread and some chicken mashed with some spinach. The kid drinks milk twice a day.
Have your child eat a well-balanced diet – lots of fruits and vegetables, good protein sources like whole grain breads and cereals and milk. Sounds like you are on the right track!

Previously, the recommendation for mito patients was a high fat diet to yield more energy. Is this still the general recommendation to maximize energy and mitochondrial function?
It depends on the type of mitochondrial disorder. The high fat or ketogenic diet has been found to be effective for Complex 1 deficiency and disorders associated with intractable seizures. It may not be effective for all mito disorders.

I know people always say take small snacks throughout the day, and I need to get as many calories as I can. Well, sometimes that is easier said than done. I know I try to drink a milkshake when I can, but sometimes it is a balancing act so I don’t eat so much that I make myself sick. I know that in the summer when it gets hot, I really don’t have a big appetite at times and don’t want to a lot. What am I doing wrong? I need to gain a few pounds, and it seems it doesn’t work. It’s just tough with mito.
Concentrate on high calorie, low volume foods. For example, juices may provide the same calories as fresh fruit, but less volume. Add cream and butter to mashed potatoes, add cheese to soups and add nuts or nut butters, mayonnaise and high fat cheeses to meals.

Many mito patients need gluten free options. While there are many options now in groceries and restaurants, where can patients learn more about gluten free foods?

Here are some resources for Gluten Free information:

National Celiac Association (
Celiac Disease Foundation (
Beyond Celiac (

Gluten-Free Living

Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Author: Shelley Case, RD (well-known dietitian in the celiac space)