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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014 Apr;27(2):122-32. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12210. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Positive effect of protein-supplemented hospital food on protein intake in patients at nutritional risk: a randomised controlled trial.

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Nutritional Research Unit, EFFECT, Herlev University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.



New evidence indicates that increased dietary protein ingestion promotes health and recovery from illness, and also maintains functionality in older adults. The present study aimed to investigate whether a novel food service concept with protein-supplementation would increase protein and energy intake in hospitalised patients at nutritional risk.


A single-blinded randomised controlled trial was conducted. Eighty-four participants at nutritional risk, recruited from the departments of Oncology, Orthopaedics and Urology, were included. The intervention group (IG) received the protein-supplemented food service concept. The control group (CG) received the standard hospital menu. Primary outcome comprised the number of patients achieving ≥75% of energy and protein requirements. Secondary outcomes comprised mean energy and protein intake, body weight, handgrip strength and length of hospital stay.


In IG, 76% versus 70% CG patients reached ≥75% of their energy requirements (P = 0.57); 66% IG versus 30% CG patients reached ≥75% of their protein requirements (P = 0.001). The risk ratio for achieving ≥75% of protein requirements: 2.2 (95% confidence interval = 1.3-3.7); number needed to treat = 3 (95% confidence interval = 2-6). IG had a higher mean intake of energy and protein when adjusted for body weight (CG: 82 kJ kg(-1) versus IG: 103 kJ kg(-1) , P = 0.013; CG: 0.7 g protein kg(-1) versus 0.9 g protein kg(-1) , P = 0.003). Body weight, handgrip strength and length of hospital stay did not differ between groups.


The novel food service concept had a significant positive impact on overall protein intake and on weight-adjusted energy intake in hospitalised patients at nutritional risk.


food fortification; hospital food; nutritional support; protein; room service; undernutrition

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