Nutritional supplements: Taste preferences in patients with malignant haematological disease during active treatment

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Background: Several studies have indicated that cancer patients have significantly altered taste sensitivity without specifying the preferences. One of the related problems is low compliance to nutritional therapy with oral nutritional supplements (ONS) in patients suffering severe weight loss. Objective: We wanted to investigate taste preferences and sensoric characteristics among three usually used ONS in patients with malignant haematological disease during cytotoxic treatment. Design: Tested drinks were: Protin® (protein-enriched-milk, ARLA), Nutridrink® (NUTRICIA) and hospital-produced drink of buttermilk and egg (RH-drink), all with vanilla taste. Protein-contents were the same (5-6 g/100 ml). Forty-one consecutive patients tasted the three ONS in a randomized, blinded set-up with one of the ONS included twice as a control. Taste qualities were quantified on VAS-scales: Bitter, sweet, salt, sour, metal, gritty, consistence and ability to drink 150 ml (one glass), and the patients arranged the drinks in order of preference. Results: The sensory qualities differed significantly concerning sweet (p<0.05), sour (p<0.008) and the ability to drink 150 ml. Patients preference order was Protin® (p<0.002) as the best, RH-drink next (p<0.005) and Nutridrink® last. Conclusions: Patients in cytostatic therapy had clear preferences for fresh, hyperosmolar, milk-based ONS without vitamins, and had major difficulties with a commercial product. The preferences were not related to osmolarity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number175008
JournalJMED Research
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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