Most doctors in the United States get less than 20 hours of training in nutrition during their stint in medical school. If asked, many doctors would rather refer their patients to a nutritionist, than give their patients nutritional advice. Many doctors understand how to treat the symptom, but lack an overall understanding about healthy habits that could help their patients avoid diseases. (1)
Food provided during hospital stays show how large of a disconnect there is between doctors and nutrition. This problem is not just within the United States. A study in the United Kingdom reported that 40 percent of elderly hospital admissions are undernourished, and half are severely undernourished. Most of these patients lose weight following admission, not just because of their disease, but because of further nutritional shortcomings in hospital food. The study also found that 40 percent of the food given to the patient remains on the plate. (2)
Dr. Andrew Abraham shares how his own experience with cancer influenced his nutritional understanding and beliefs
Many hospitals will offer your loved ones a supplemental nutrition drink if they are not consuming enough at mealtime. Sadly, these drinks contain ingredients such as corn sweeteners, processed dairy, sugar and processed soy proteins, meaning that these drinks also lack nutrition. (1)
One doctor experienced the significance of this problem when faced with his own cancer diagnosis. Dr. Andrew Abraham was diagnosed with cancer and spent substantial time in the hospital. He reports, “I was drinking nutritional products that were given to me by my doctor, so I truly was convinced that these were nutritious products.” After researching these products more, he realized that these drinks were full of unhealthy ingredients, and he set out to offer a nutritious option for hospitals and patients. (1)
Dr. Abraham explains, “For me, high quality nutrition is critical because I feel that it really saved my life.” He was able to fully heal his body after his fight with cancer and then he and his wife, Kathy, who is a holistic nutritionist, built a company: Orgain. Orgain offers supplemental nutrition drinks and protein powders made with organic and plant-based protein, such as hemp. The company offers both vegan and dairy formulas. The products are designed for those who rely on nutritional shakes for medical reasons, or for healthy people seeking a meal replacement option. (1)
High quality nutrition shown to shorten hospital stays and save approximately $1,064 per patient!
Several studies have documented the impact of what happens when patients receive high-quality nutritional care. A survey conducted in 19 hospitals found that those who receive high quality nutrition, average approximately 12.2 days in the hospital. Those who receive medium nutrition, average 14 days hospitalized. Those who receive low quality nutrition, average 14.4 days. The survey showed that 7.5 percent of these patients who receive low quality nutrition are at risk for malnutrition. By providing high quality nutrition to patients, this would create an estimated net savings of $1,064 per patient. (3)
If you or someone you love is in the hospital, battling an illness, or struggling with poor food choices, it is important to understand the value that nutrition plays in our life. Recommending that these loved ones use quality supplements and nutritional shakes provides optimal for their ongoing quality of life. If you are in the hospital, remember, you have to advocate for yourself. Do not be afraid to speak up and let your doctor know exactly what your needs are.
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