Foods to Eat Before a PET Scan

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A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a powerful process for detecting cancer. Cancer cells grow extremely fast and need a lot of glucose. A doctor will inject the patient with glucose, and the PET scanner detects if any cells are emitting signs of high glucose use. If you eat before your PET scan, you risk throwing your glucose levels off balance and getting inaccurate results. You don't have to starve yourself, however, as there are certain foods that you can still eat before a PET scan.

man in PET scanner
man in PET scanner

Foods High in Protein

Eating foods high in protein and low in carbohydrate will keep your glucose levels stable. Some good foods to eat are: steak, chicken, fish, cheese, eggs, duck, turkey, asparagus, broccoli and mushrooms. All of these foods can be prepared in a number of different ways. Baked chicken is one of the healthiest, and frying a whole egg is also healthy.

asparagus on cutting board
asparagus on cutting board

Foods to Avoid

Avoid foods that are high in carbs and low in protein. These foods will throw your glucose levels off balance and likely result in an inaccurate reading. Some foods that are high in carbs and low in protein are: pasta, potatoes, rice, bagels, waffles, oatmeal, raisins and bread. There are other things that can also throw off the results of your PET scan. You should avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco and heavy exercise for the 24 hours leading up to your exam.

white sugar
white sugar

When to Eat

The last meal you eat should be the night before your exam if you have your appointment before noon. If you have an afternoon or evening appointment, you can eat breakfast. Also, avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco and heavy exercise for the 24 hours leading up to your exam.

man eating breakfast
man eating breakfast

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