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Clin Nutr. 2008 Dec;27(6):800-5. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.07.008. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Meeting the nutritional requirements of hospitalized patients: an interdisciplinary approach to hospital catering.

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Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.



The study served to assure the quality of our catering, to locate problems, and to define further optimization measures at the Bern University Hospital. The main objective was to investigate whether the macronutrient and energy content of the hospital food complies with the nutritional value calculated from recipes as well as with the recommendations issued by the German Nutrition Society (DGE).


Prospective, randomized, single-center quality study. Complete standard meals were analyzed over seven consecutive days for each seasonal menu plan in one year. The quantitative and qualitative chemical content of a randomly chosen menu was determined by an external laboratory.


Sixty meals were analyzed. The amount of food served and the ratio of macronutrients contained in the food satisfactorily reflected all recipes. Not surprisingly, the energy and carbohydrate content of our meals was lower than in the German recommendations, because the report of the DGE is based on the sum of meals, snacks and beverages consumed over the whole day and not only on the main meals, as we analyzed.


Periodic quality control is essential in order to meet recommendations and patients' expectations in hospital catering. Members of the catering service should undergo regularly repeated skills training, and continuous efforts should be made to ensure portion size for all delivered meals. Food provision in the hospital setting needs to be tailored to meet the demands of the different patient groups, to optimize nutritional support, and to minimize food waste.

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