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Instead, encourage them to consume smaller, more frequent meals and snacks, even before bedtime. Photos Courtesy of Manufacturers These heavily marketed liquid meals aren't always the best option for your nutrition. I may have to start thickening my mom's fluids. Pure Protein 35g Shake — Frosty Chocolate. It offers a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat and can be used as a light meal and larger snack replacement.
Determine the Cause of a Senior’s Dwindling Appetite
These drinks require no preparation, are easily swallowed and tolerated by the elderly and satisfy the need for added nutrition without empty calories and with the appropriate amount of dietary fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol. There is a wide variety of Drinks to help your elderly parent maintain optimal health; various formulas are designed for different nutritional needs including individuals who are diabetic, need to improve bone health, are battling cancer, or are either pre or post-surgery — issues which many of us will face as we deal with the declining health of our parents.
I recommend products formulated for diabetics as the healthiest option for non-diabetics as well , since they build on the use of complex carbohydrates to give better blood glucose control — a key factor in avoiding Type 2 diabetes. Note that these recommendations are very nutritious, but some of them are not particularly high in calories. Glucerna SR, Vanilla, 8 ounces. These protein shakes, which are designed for people with diabetes, come in four flavors: Overall, they are a good choice.
Their carb content of 27 grams places the shakes in the range of a moderate-sized snack or small meal. Boost Glucose Control, 8 oz. Boost Glucose Control is a meal replacement drink made specifically for people on a type 2 diabetes management plan. Almased, 8 tablespoon serving. Almased is a meal replacement drink mix made from soy protein, honey enzymes, and skim milk yogurt powder.
The soy and yogurt give it one of the highest protein contents among shakes for diabetes. The Almased drink mix is a good choice if you are looking to add extra calories; just mix the powder with milk instead of water. These protein shakes for people with diabetes are formulated with a combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that metabolize slowly and help control blood sugar for up to 9 hours — good for type 2 diabetes management.
Extend Nutrition Shakes come in strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors; you add water to the powder packet. Again, if you are looking for more calories, mix the powder with milk instead. Atkins Advantage Vanilla Shake, 11 oz. Atkins Advantage shakes, from the creators of the Atkins Diet, are marketed as snack or light meal replacements. Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate, 11 oz. If you are looking for a very high protein meal replacement, this shake is an excellent choice.
The MET-Rx has a whopping 51 grams of protein and calories in a 15 oz serving. If your loved one is skipping meals, this shake is an excellent choice.
Products such as Ensure, Boost, Sustacal and Resource have been used for years in health care facilities and nursing homes as easy, calorie-dense sources for frail patients who frequently refuse to eat meals. Now, however, the manufacturers are touting these supplements as healthful meal replacements appropriate for the general, and certainly not frail, population. What's the bottom line on the nutritional value of these products behind all the advertising fervor?
To find the answer, we decided to check out four of the leading supplements — Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast and Resource. One of the most important things a consumer can do to be certain they are not being misled by nutritional marketing strategies is to be a savvy label reader. For instance, you should be aware that ingredients on a food label must be listed in the order of greatest quantity to smallest quantity.
Therefore, when having a meal or a "meal replacement" it would be wise to be certain that the first few ingredients of the foods you are consuming come from nutritious and nutrient dense sources. A food can be described as nutrient dense when per a given quantity of calories the food is also providing several other good nutrients such as complex carbohydrates , vitamins, minerals and fiber.
For example, whole wheat bread is very nutrient dense since in an calorie slice it is providing your body with complex carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Popsicles, on the other hand, would not be considered nutrient dense since within a 60 calorie pop you are getting little short of table sugar.
With this in mind, a short scan of the first few ingredients in these nutritional supplements would help to tell us where the bulk of the calories come from and whether these ingredients are nutrient dense sources. With the exception of Carnation Instant Breakfast, the other supplements we reviewed list water and corn syrup or corn syrup solids as their first two ingredients.
Follow that with more sugar, a soy or milk protein source, some oils, and a quarter to a half of a multivitamin pill and you've got the makings for a complete "nutritional energy drink. One of the arguments often given in defense of these supplements is that they are a better snack or meal replacement than a candy bar or chips and a soda.
A doctor should conduct a detailed medical evaluation to determine the cause of loss in appetite and weight loss. If a caregiver does decide a nutrition drink is right for their elderly loved one, a doctor should still be consulted to determine the type of supplement to use. For example, diabetics must choose a low-sugar product.
There is a misperception that frail elderly people should adhere to the same low-fat, low-calorie diet that is recommended for the general population.
Ehrlich says that for frail elderly who have substantial weight loss, the opposite is true. It would be better to eat a bowl of ice cream, for the caloric intake! Elders who have experienced weight loss should eat what they like. There is no need for low-fat milk or cheese. Rather, encourage them to have smaller, more frequent meals, including snacks, even before bed.
Supplements, including nutrition drinks, can cause dangerous drug interactions in the same way prescription medications do. Medicines at War Within the Body.
If an elder is taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements, the drugs may conflict and, basically, go to war against each other, while also damaging otherwise functioning body organs and systems. Check with your doctor to avoid interactions. As an example, vitamin supplements may negatively interact with blood thinners like Coumadin.
The bottom line is that nutrition drinks are a not a magic fix for lack of eating or under-nutrition. These products are not bad when used as a dietary aid and supplement to regular meals. However, they should not be used as a meal replacement for elders — especially those who are frail or thin. If my mother didn't have her nutritional shakes every day, she would probably wither away.
She does eat three real meals of solid food a day, but her appetite is so poor There are some good shakes out there. Of course it shouldn't be used as a meal replacement, but, what do you do for a 90 year old person, who just doesn't have the appetite to eat much? The nutrition drinks are better than just drinking a glass of chocolate milk instead, or sleeping extra to make up for the lack of nutritional intake.