- Cancer Information
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- Nutrition and cancer
- Nutrition concerns
- Food-type nutritional supplements
Food-type nutritional supplements
If treatment side effects mean you cannot eat a balanced diet, or you are losing weight without trying, food-type nutritional supplements can increase nutrient intake and help maintain your strength and energy. They are best used as snacks between meals, or some can be added to drinks or meals.
Many pharmacies and supermarkets sell these specially formulated nutritional supplements. They come in different flavours and forms, including powdered (to sprinkle on food or into drinks or water), ready-to-drink liquids, and ready-made puddings, custards and jellies. There are versions to suit different nutrition needs, e.g. high fibre, neutral taste, low lactose, gluten free, low glycaemic index.
Ask your doctor or dietitian which ones would be most suitable for you. Although many supplements do not require a prescription, a prescription will sometimes reduce the cost. If you are having difficulty swallowing, talk to a speech pathologist for directions on thickening the supplement.
You can also make your own nutritional supplement to add to food and drinks using the enriched milk recipe.
Jenelle Loeliger, Head of Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rebecca Blower, Public Health Advisor, Cancer Prevention, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Julia Davenport, Consumer; Irene Deftereos, Senior Dietitian, Western Health, VIC; Lynda Menzies, A/Senior Dietitian – Cancer Care (APD), Sunshine Coast University Hospital, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Janice Savage, Consumer.
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