The Effect of Nutritional Supplements on the Food Intake of Radiotherapy Patients

Document Type




Format of Original

4 p.

Publication Date



Oncology Nursing Society

Source Publication

Oncology Nursing Forum

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

Shelves: RC266 .O52x Raynor Memorial Periodicals


To describe the effect of nutritional supplements on food intake in patients undergoing radiotherapy. DESIGN: Experimental prospective. SAMPLE: 40 newly diagnosed patients with cancer beginning external beam radiation therapy. METHODS: Weekly dietary counseling and recording of total daily dietary intake for three days a week for four weeks. One half of the subjects were randomly assigned to ingest a liquid nutritional supplement between meals and at bedtime. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Total daily protein and caloric intake, food-derived protein and caloric intake, and supplement-derived protein and caloric intake. FINDINGS: Subjects ingesting nutritional supplements between meals significantly increased their total caloric and protein intake above that of controls and did not reduce their food-derived caloric or protein intake compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: Nutritional supplements can be used to increase total caloric and protein intake without causing a significant reduction in food intake. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: In this patient sample, supplements were not substituted for food intake. Further research is needed to determine the effects of supplements on appetite in patients with advanced cancer.


Oncology Nursing Forum, Vol. 26, No. 5. (June 1999): 897-900. Permalink.

Donna McCarthy was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin - Madison at the time of publication.