As a dietitian who works with those suffering from eating disorder and gastrointestinal issues, part of my work is helping my clients restore their weight.  When weight is lost rapidly, regardless of Body Mass Index (BMI) it can pose a serious health risk.  This can also occur if your body weight is lower than your set point, or the weight your healthy body wants your weight to be so it can function optimally.  

With both scenarios we can see the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Ankle swelling
  • Constipation
  • Delayed stomach emptying (with nausea, vomiting or stomach pain)
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Dry skin, brittle nails, hair loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Increase in anxiety, obsessive thoughtsSupplemental Nutrition Shakes

These are all signs that your body is not getting enough fuel, or calories to sustain its functions.  Other symptoms are your body’s attempt to get you to eat more such as:

  • Inability to sleep at night is your body saying, “Go find food!”
  • Disproportionate amount of time thinking about food is your body saying, “Go find food!”

These signs and symptoms are pretty debilitating and can be life threatening.  This is why I sometimes use nutritional supplements to increase calories.  Along with regular meal and snacks these supplements allow us to get high calories in without a large volume of food.  You can imagine if you are already feeling full, constipated eating 300 calories of vegetables will take up more space that you can handle, you would need to be eating all day!

Supplemental Nutrition Shakes

With supplements we can get those calories in smaller volumes that your stomach can tolerate.  I use multiple brands depending on the client and their needs.  If you cannot tolerate dairy I have some dairy free options; if you need to be lactose free I can try others.  

See the chart below for some of my commonly used supplemental nutrition shakes and when I use them!

Shake Name:

When to use:

Pros:

Flavors:

Where to buy:

What you need to know

ENU
-Cancer related weight loss

-Eating disorder related weight loss

-GI related weight loss

-Lactose free for easier digestion

-Dense formula for less volume

-Chocolate

-Vanilla

-ENU website

-Amazon

If my patients can tolerate these this is my go-to since it is the densest formula.  It is usually well tolerated by my clients even if they previously could not tolerate Boost or Ensure.
Kate Farms
-Cancer related weight loss

-Eating disorder related weight loss

-GI related weight loss

-Vegan

-Soy and dairy free

-Uses whole foods in formula

-Chocolate

-Vanilla

-Coffee

-Unflavored

-Vitamin Shoppe

-Wegmans

-Amazon

Since this formula uses a variety of whole foods I don’t always use for food sensitivities.  It does have some FODMAPs but is generally well tolerated by IBS clients.
Pronourish
-Low Fodmaps

-IBS

-100% FODMAP Friendly

-Lactose free

-Chocolate

-Vanilla

-Strawberry -Banana

-Safeway

-CVS

-Giant

-Shoppers

This product is pretty low calorie so not the best for restoring weight.  The portion is more of a snack size. It is  lactose free but still has dairy for those that cannot tolerate dairy.
Orgain (vegan)
-Cancer related weight loss

-Eating disorder related weight loss

-GI related weight loss

-Vegan

-Low FODMAP (mostly)

-Mostly Low FODMAP

-Dairy Free

-Chocolate

-Vanilla

-Giant

-Moms

-Safeway

-CVS

-Whole Foods

-Rite Aid

-Costco

-YES!

This is slightly higher calories and usually well tolerated by my IBS clients even though not 100% Low FODMAP.  
Svelt
On-the- go -Dairy free -Banana

-Chocolate

-Vanilla

-Spiced chai

-Cappuccino

-Wegmans

-Safeway

-Mom’s

-Davids

-Shoprite

-Vitamin Shoppe

-Yes!

-Walmart

This brand is easy to find but it is low calorie so not the best for restoring weight and is more of a snack portion.  Great for on the go ease when not able to prepare a snack.

Not available retail. By home care or pharmacy. Your RDN can help with how to order.

Peptamen
-GI related

weight loss

-Malabsorption

-Hydrolyzed protein for GI issues affecting tolerance and absorption -Unflavored

-Vanilla

Home care  or pharmacy This product is broken down from full proteins to peptides for easier digestion and absorption.  As products are more broken down they tend to be more expensive and less palatable so I usually try other products first.
Neocate
-Eosinophilic Esophagitis

-Food allergies

-Elemental formula -Unflavored

-Orange pineapple

-Grape

-Tropical fruit

Home Care or pharmacy This product is broken down from peptides to elements for easier digestion and absorption.  As products are more broken down they tend to be more expensive and less palatable so I usually try other products first.
Benecalorie
-Cancer related weight loss

-Eating disorder related weight loss

-GI related weight loss

-Dense calories that can be added to your usual food -Unflavored Home care or pharmacy This product contains calories and protein to help restore weight by adding to your regular foods such as beverages, yogurt, mashed potatoes, hot cereals and creamy soups.

Supplemental Nutrition Shakes
If you have lost a significant amount of weight, which is defined as

>5% weight loss in 1 month >7.5% in 3 months >10% in 6 months

 

or have the symptoms mentioned at the beginning of this blog, or are currently at a BMI under 18.5 please contact us at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates explore your nutrition needs and get personalized recommendations.  You can reach us here or call 301-474-2499.