• Meeting nutritional needs when there's no interest in food

    Asked by FreeBird on Friday, July 13, 2012

    Meeting nutritional needs when there's no interest in food

    I am trying to provide nutrition options for someone with stage IV pancreatic cancer, who feels bloated, full, and not hungry. Mainly I need to get the protein and calories up, because he's not eating enough to provide basic nutrition. We have tried the major brands of meal supplement drinks, and we agree they taste like rotten paint, even when ice cream and syrup are added. Do you have any creative ideas, based on your experience?

    3 Answers from the Community

    • nancyjac's Avatar

      First and foremost, I would seek medical attention for the bloating. It can be caused by many dietary related problems including lactose intolerance or other food allergies, kidney problems, digestive issues, etc. and encouraging the person so eat more may only make the problem worse.

      Secondly, ramping up protein and calorie intake doesn't equate to meeting nutritional needs. Many essential nutrients are not available in high calorie and high protein foods.

      If he is on palliative hospice care, you might suggest tube or IV feeding to provide balanced nutrition without having to deal with the taste and not being hungry issues. Otherwise, I would suggest the patient's oncologist provide a referral to a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist.

      over 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      I agree with nancyjac in seeking medical attention to make sure there is nothing else going on. The doctor may suggest intravenous nutrition, which helps to bypass the whole taste thing.

      I have trouble getting proper nutrition also, but one thing I found was Scandi-shakes. They are like Ensure but are 600 calories and a lot of protein. I just use milk and some strawberry syrup, but there are different flavors and you can add ice cream or other things. I know it sounds like you've tried this route, but it's worth mentioning. I was told about it by the Cancer center's dietician. It is so hard when there is no desire to eat. I hope you find something that works for you. You'll be in my prayers.

      over 4 years ago
    • sullymum's Avatar

      My experience has been that I try to eat 6-7 mini meals...smoothies with greek yogurt with some whey protein and fruit...peanut butter on toast, something that the patient my like but trying to add protein and fiber ...I also keep boost and ensure on hand just in case...there is a great receipt book out there called "Eating well through cancer" by Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello MD..hope this helps

      almost 4 years ago

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