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  • The Production of C02 From Various Foods We Consume

    Posted by Charlene Marshall on November 22, 2019 at 11:47 am

    While at the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) Summit in Texas a few weeks back, I had the privilege of attending various educational sessions on topics pertaining to life with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). One of the sessions I chose to attend was on Health and Wellness with Pulmonary Fibrosis, which was facilitated by two physicians, a senior dietician and a respiratory therapist from different centers of excellence in IPF/PF around the US. I was particularly interested in attending this session because it focuses on both the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation and healthy eating.

    In addition to the session being professionally facilitated, I also sat beside Noah Greenspan from Ultimate Pulmonary Wellness, so I was in a perfect position to maximize my understanding on this topic! I’ve written a column about this topic which will be published on Monday and share a lot more details. However, the information is so applicable to all of us that I believe it is important to be shared on multiple platforms. Here were my two main takeaways from that session:


    • All foods we consume produce three things: C02, water & energy, with processed sugar unsurprisingly producing the most C02. As we know, a higher C02 level is dangerous in patients with a lung disease, who subsequently, have lower oxygen levels. Natural sugars such as those in fruit, do not produce C02 in the same way that processed, white sugar does and is also not a threat to blood sugar levels.


    • Aside from sugar, the three types of food we typically consume also produce C02 and the order of which food produces the most was shocking to me! Did you know that carbohydrates produce the most C02 in our bodies, followed by protein? I never would have guessed that protein produces more C02 than fats do – this is referring to ‘good/healthy‘ fats, however.


    Stay tuned for my column on Monday where I review this in a little more detail, but I wanted to share these two takeaways with the forum as they’ve begun changing how and what I consume on a daily basis. C02 is already more present in our bodies due to IPF/PF, so I am wanting to avoid foods that produce more of it and now I am more aware of which foods to choose.

    Had you known this information already?

    If not, was it of surprise/interest to you?

    Charlene Marshall replied 4 years, 4 months ago 8 Members · 15 Replies
  • 15 Replies
  • Reshma Joshi

    December 23, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Hello Charlene..

    As you said higher CO2 level is dangerous for the patients with lung disease and they should avoid such foods. Can you please give us some examples of food with high CO2 that the patients should avoid? Thank you.

  • Charlene Marshall

    December 23, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Hi Reshma,

    Many thanks for writing and thanks for joining the PF forums – welcome again!

    I had written the above post after attending the PFF Summit in Texas, where several professionals spoke about the topic of food consumption and C02. Unfortunately, they didn’t talk about specific kinds of food that PF patients should avoid, but more about the types of food that produce C02, ie. those high in sugar and carbs. Therefore, I would suggest (keep in mind I am by no means a medical professional) avoiding foods high in refined (ie. white) sugars and carbohydrates. Hopefully this helps reduce the amount of C02 produced in your body, helping optimize the amount of 02 produced. Hopefully this helps 🙂


  • Chuck Pefley

    December 24, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Charlene,

    Happy Holidays!!!

    I’m very happy you were able to hear (and hopefully, meet) Noah Greenspan and be introduced to his Pulmonary Wellness Foundation dot Org. Noah’s an amazing fount of knowledge, inspiration, and energy … all directed toward us, the pulmonary and/or cardio-pulmonary disease afflicted community!

    I can attest personally to the value of his Pulmonary Wellness Online Bootcamp. Everyone of us should do this program!!!

    To answer Reshma’s food query directly, PASTA is one food that gives us more CO2 bang for our buck.



  • jaime L manriquez

    December 24, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    hello friends,

    CO2 .

    Im already 20 kg underweight, with no diet at all, imagine if I quit Carbs, and proteins,

    that would it be my early death sentence, thanks for he hint


  • Marsha

    December 26, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Happy New Year, Charlene!  Your sneak peek re: ‘CO2 production from foods we eat’ came as an extremely interesting revelation to me and I look forward to reading your full article on Monday.  Will definitely have more feedback for you then…

    What a wonderful opportunity for you to sit next to and engage with Noah Greenspan!  With your impressive knowledge of and ability to articulate about issues surrounding IPF/PF, I believe it was meant to be!

    Here’s to a healthier 2020 for us all!


  • Jesse

    December 26, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Like Jaime, I’m underweight do to loss of appetite caused by OFEV ….and still losing kgs. Unfortunately, carbs and a bit of protein is the only way I can try and keep weight on. I guess it’s keeping a balance of what you eat.

    May we all eat well and maintain a good level of health as we head into 2020.



  • Wendy Dirks

    December 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I practice intuitive eating – I eat whatever I want, listening to the signals my body sends me about what it needs. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I’ve noticed my appetite slowly diminishing since my diagnosis. To be honest, the thought of trying to impose any kind of restrictions on my eating based on anything but what my body is telling me is really off putting. I know my lifespan is limited and I intend to enjoy what I eat for as long as I’m able to do so. Food should be savoured and eating should be pleasurable and when it becomes something that we have to keep track of, all the joy disappears. No thanks!

  • jaime L manriquez

    December 27, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    wendy, I do exactly what you do, can ´t let my weight go down any further , so I eat normal,

    eat bread, chocolate, and pasta, rice etc. also listening to my body, I m going for the 8 th year since diagnose IPF , feeling ok since I quit ofev, no oxigen needed yet, thank God.

    best regards and a great 2020 for all of you friends


  • Charlene Marshall

    December 28, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Chuck,

    So nice to hear from you – happy holidays!

    Yes,  I was privileged to speak with and meet Noah in Texas last November. I’m also aware of his incredible efforts of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation – I am sitting on their board as a patient advocate. So glad the program has worked well for you, thanks for sharing your endorsement.

    You’re absolutely correct — since pasta is a carb, it produces significant amounts of C02. Among many other reasons, this is just 1 example of why it should be avoided or at least, consumed only in moderation.

    All the best for 2020!

  • Charlene Marshall

    December 28, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    You’re absolutely right Jesse – it is all about balance! Our bodies can’t operate without food, and we often use carbohydrates for energy, despite this type of food producing the most C02. It is about balance, and adjusting accordingly: if you need calories to ensure you don’t lose weight, or can only tolerate carbs and proteins then these still need to be prioritized. 🙂

    Thanks for writing and all the best to you in the new year!

  • Charlene Marshall

    December 28, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Marsha

    Thanks for writing – as always, it is great to hear from you! All the best in 2020.

    The ‘C02 and food production’ column has been published for a few months now, you can find it here: https://pulmonaryfibrosisnews.com/2019/11/25/healthy-eating-diet-impacts-body-transplant/

    Hope this helps and glad to hear this topic is of interest to you. Yes, it was a privileged to meet Noah Greenspan at the Summit. I’m sitting on his board for the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation and look forward to some future initiatives together.

    Take care,

  • Charlene Marshall

    December 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Glad you’re doing what works best for you and your body Wendy – that is equally important. I hope your appetite continues, and that it doesn’t drop too significantly as the disease progresses. Thanks for writing!

  • Kyle Stiegert

    December 31, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Hi Charlene thanks for your hard work.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Curious if you have any citations of science backing up these claims/issues?Here are some of my other questions:</p>
    -How different are various foods in terms of co2 production? Do you have something akin to a calorie chart?

    -is all of the co2 expelled through the lungs? If not, then where/how does it end up?

    -how long does it take to expell co2 after a typical meal?

    -why is this dangerous? Sould we up the oxygen intake after a meal to manage the danger?

    To me, the nutrition recommendation has look/feel of most any healthy eating plan: more fruits and veggies, less simple carbs including much less processed sugar, moderation of meats, and use heart-healthy fats like olive and canola oil. Is there anything else to think about that goes beyond the basic healthy eating plan that we should be aware of?






  • Wendy Dirks

    January 6, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you, Jaime – and thanks, Charlene!

    I have noticed my appetite diminishing over the last few months. I’m fat now so even if I lose weight it won’t hurt me for a while. I just wish I had the energy to shop and cook. My husband is my hero – he does all the shopping and cooking, but sometimes, well – sometimes I wish for my home cooking! LOL! I love him and I’m so lucky to have him. I hate to complain.

  • Charlene Marshall

    January 6, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Wendy,

    Just a quick tidbit here regarding meals 🙂
    Do you know what a friend got me this Christmas, while I was in the hospital and quite sick recovering from an illness? She gave me a gift card for Skip the Dishes, which allows fast food places to send your meals right to you. It will come in handy occasionally, but I also hear you on the desire for home cooked meals. Have you ever checked out the pre-planned meal boxes that can be delivered right to your door like Chef’s Plate or Hello Fresh? I’ve not taken a peak at pricing to see if they are worth it, but I have heard good things! Maybe something to consider in future.

    Chat soon,

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