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Home Cooking Addresses Malnutrition in Pancreatitis

Counseling, homemade meals worked as well in chronic condition as commercial food supplements

WEDNESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic pancreatitis, a combination of dietary counseling and a balanced diet of home-cooked foods addresses malnutrition as well as commercial food supplements, according to research published in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Siddharth Singh, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, and colleagues randomized 60 patients with chronic pancreatitis, who had a body mass index below 18.5 kg/m2, to receive either counseling from a dietitian and recommendations to eat a homemade diet of small meals, or commercial dietary supplements enriched with medium-chain triglyceride, which could conceivably reduce abdominal pain in these patients.

Body mass index, dietary intake, fecal fat and pain score improved over three months in both groups, with no significant differences between groups in any of the outcome measures, the researchers report.

"One of the important reasons for malnutrition in chronic pancreatitis is the misconstrued belief of patients, sometimes reinforced by physicians, that fat intake should be restricted to a minimum for fear of inducing pain. With simple dietary counseling for a wholesome food intake, we were able to alleviate undernutrition in these patients. Restriction of fat leads to impalatability of food besides decreasing the overall caloric value of the food. Fat intake need not be altered in quantity or modified in quality because these patients are receiving adequate pancreatic lipase supplementation by way of exogenous pancreatic enzymes," the authors write.

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